The staunch Brexiteer explained that after coronavirus, the European Union should have a new attitude towards trade deals. Ann Widdecombe explained that the UK would have been expected to take on more of the EU’s demands before the pandemic but since then the economy has changed. It comes as Boris Johnson said he will not ask for an extension on the negotiations.
Speaking to Brexit Watch, Ms Widdecombe said: “If you consider the fact that we’ve now got to re-examine so much from base that we may have to accept that there are many things we wouldn’t have had to do before this crisis broke out.
“It is probably the ideal time to take a new attitude towards trade.”
She added: “They’re terrified of a Singapore on its doorstep. That’s what it’s afraid of.
“It’s afraid of a Singapore right on the doorstep of the EU.”
Her comments come as the EU has committed to reaching an agreement with Britain on their new relationship after Brexit – but not at any cost, the bloc said on Friday.
EU chiefs Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen briefed the 27 national leaders on Friday on the latest talks with Britain, which have made precious little progress since London left the bloc in January, and now face an end-year deadline.
The EU commissioner, Ursula von der Leyen said: “We jointly stressed our willingness to undertake all possible efforts to come to an agreement.
“For this we have to bridge wide divergences, which remain to be solved.”
While Johnson wants a loose trade deal with the EU, the bloc is seeking much closer ties for the future covering climate, fishing, transport and security.
Disagreements over how to guarantee fair competition, fisheries, rules for settling disputes or the role of the EU’s top court have so far prevented progress as the bloc seeks to tie London closely to its rules while Johnson wants to cut his country loose.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after the EU discussions on Friday that a deal with Britain must materialise this autumn to leave enough time for ratification before 2021.
A French official said the leaders agreed that they must stick to their stance on fisheries and the so-called level playing field provisions aimed at ensuring fair competition.