Michel Barnier branded ‘forever an enemy of Britain and everything wrong with the EU’

EXCLUSIVE: The Frenchman had "stood in the way of Brexit" - but it was British leaders who were to blame for a flawed deal with the EU, a top Brexiteer said.

Michel Barnier and former PM Boris Johnson

Michel Barnier and former PM Boris Johnson (Image: GETTY)

, the EU’s former chief Brexit negotiator, will “forever be an enemy of Britain”, and represents “everything which is wrong” with the bloc, Brexiteer Ben Habib has said.

Mr Habib was commenting after Frenchman Mr Barnier, an unsuccessful candidate in last year’s French Presidential election, took stock of Britain’s decision to quit in an article penned for the Financial Times.

In it, Mr Barnier dismissed any possibility of reopening the trade deal signed by the UK and the EU in 2021, while conceding: “It’s always possible to improve the functioning of this agreement, on some technical points”.

He also emphasised his opposition to delays in tariffs due to be imposed on the UK and EU automobile industries from January 2024.

Mr Habib is a former Brexit Party MEP and a vociferous critic of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, believing then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson should have walked away rather than signing it.

Former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage

Former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage (Image: Getty)

He told Express.co.uk: "It was curious to me when Nigel Farage bemoaned the fact Barnier was not on our negotiating team.

“I know he meant Barnier knocked our negotiators into a cocked hat but just about anyone would have been able to do that; the bar was low.”

Mr Habib continued: “The problem with Barnier is Barnier.

“To start with he is the personification of all that is wrong with the EU. A socialist European federalist.

Brexit: Michel Barnier confirms ‘no room’ for renegotiation

“He claims to be a patriot and European - you cannot be both. To be pro-EU is to support the hollowing out of nation-states, the removal of national identities and borders.

“When he stood as a candidate for the French presidency, he banged the drum against immigration.”

Nevertheless, it was the EU which had allowed a large number of migrants into Europe, both legally and illegally, and then “allowed them to roam free unchecked by borders and law enforcement”, Mr Habib pointed out.

He continued: “As far as I am concerned, he will forever be an enemy of the United Kingdom.

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Lord Frost heads to the Cabinet Office in Whitehall

Lord David Frost is the UK's former Brexit minister (Image: Getty)

"He deliberately frustrated our legitimate right to leave the EU.”

Referring to the Northern Ireland Protocol, in accordance with which the region remains aligned with some EU rules and regulations, Mr Habib said: “It was him that first said the price of Brexit would be Northern Ireland.

“Our pathetic negotiators and political class did not have the wherewithal or courage to stand up to him.

“But I do not blame him; I blame Theresa May, Boris Johnson, David Frost and Rishi Sunak - they should have known better.

Ben Habib

Ben Habib is highly critical of the UK's political leaders when it comes to Brexit (Image: PA)

"Instead, they partitioned the United Kingdom, leaving Northern Ireland behind in the EU and hitching Great Britain to the EU's hip.”

Mr Barnier had “stood in the way of Brexit” but it was the UK side which was to blame, Mr Habib claimed.

He concluded: “Any sensible-minded individual in the UK knows the best deal would have been no deal.

“Maybe one day we will get a PM who has a genuine belief in and vision for a strong, forward-looking, proud, sovereign United Kingdom. We travel in hope."

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