Hannah Mckay via Reuters
Suggesting that the agreement should be changed, the Tory backbencher said: “The Brexit agreement was signed at a time when the government was weak and gripped by a political and constitutional crisis, the AKO exploited. “
The agreement, signed in December 2020, came a year after the prime minister Boris Johnson has gained a large landmark majority of 80 seats in the Commons.
While there has been some tension within the Tory party about how closely post-Brexit Britain is aligned with the EU, all Conservatives have won a manifesto to “implement Brexit”.
Delivers BBC Newsnight Emily Maitlis probed: “So you think it’s a terrible deal?”
Jenkin replied: “I myself was happy to vote against it. The only reason I voted for it was because there seems to be no alternative.”
He then cut off Maitlis and said: “We can continue the conversation about the past, but the point is about the future. Does this agreement work?
“I think until now the EU has agreed that there are aspects of this deal that are not working.
“That was a big shift. That was a big change. ”
The BBC presenter agreed: “So when the prime minister came back and he greeted it as a very good, a success, and it was all signed by Christmas, did you sit there and think,‘ I don’t know what you are in question, is this a terrible deal ‘?
“Did you think of that all?”
He replied: “I think he should sell the deal, but it’s not very good, but you know, we’ll live here.”
He added that the Tories tried to make it “work”.
Bernard Jenkin #Newsnight
“The Brexit Deal was signed at a time when Gov. was weak and touched by a constitutional crisis, taken advantage of by the EU”
The EU trade agreement was signed * years * after his party won an 80 seat election to * make Brexit * shamelesspic.twitter.com/czfAkqpZ9B
– Deirdre Heenan (@deirdreheenan) October 11, 2021
Irish senator Lisa Chambers examined Jenkin on Newsnight and said the EU had not taken advantage of the UK during the negotiations.
“It’s signed with eyes open, everyone knows what they’re signing. I don’t think anyone can suggest that we haven’t talked about it enough or that we haven’t understood all the elements of it.”