Not a villain for voting to leave

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The hard-headed EU Brussels negotiators are leaving the distinct impression that they are hell-bent on putting the United Kingdom through the mangle for having the temerity to vote to leave the EU.

The EU taskmasters are under the ludicrous belief that Britain should be punished over the clear referendum decision to quit. They are behaving like boa constrictors , determined to squeeze the very life-blood out of their prey. For instance, the idea that, for a period, Britain should be subject to the rules and regulations of the EU, yet have no say whatsoever in the decisions taken at Brussels, is simply shocking. So are the eye-watering sums of money that over the weeks have been demanded by Brussels that Britain is expected to submit to for having decided to leave. This decision is not an excuse – or supposed not to be an excuse – for the rapacious hands of Brussels seemingly to bleed Britain dry. The decision to leave was made in a referendum approved by Parliament, and for people to ignore that result is beyond comprehension. I have noticed that even Tory MP Anna Soubry, a fervent Remainer, has warned fellow Tories that attempts to trip up the Prime Minister as the negotiations plough ahead will benefit nobody, least of all the United Kingdom.

Let us, by all means, have tough-talking at the negotiations, but not a situation where the UK is treated like the accused in the dock.

n Is President Trump actually becoming calmer and more conciliatory? Don’t bet on it, but he had some very agreeable things to say to the Prime Minister in Davos the other day. He underlined the great alliance between the UK and the USA and added that America would always be ready to help if Britain faced difficulties.

That was all very acceptable, but the trouble with Trump is that he is as volatile as an unpredictable volcano, liable to erupt without warning. Still, it was nice while it lasted. If Trump comes here, I trust Commons Speaker John Bercow will keep well out of the way. He played at least some part in scuppering the prospects of a state visit, I hope he has learnt some better manners since then.