A new BBC documentary has revealed what the EU have been saying about the UK in private and it’s not good.
In Brexit: Behind Closed Doors, filmmakers followed Guy Verhofstadt, the EU parliament’s representative on Brexit, during the negotiations in 2017.
The documentary shows how frustrated the EU negotiating team were with Theresa May’s negotiating strategy.
Here are the most brutal moments:
Britain remaining would be the “worst possible outcome”
After a meeting in Downing Street, Verhofstadt comments that the government is “going nowhere” and May looks “super stressed”.
He then complains that whatever deal the EU put forward, the UK will reject it, saying:
That is not leave, it’s not leave enough. It’s leave, but not enough. Because people are going to think it’s a sale. It’s not a sale.
When another negotiator suggests that the UK will end up remaining, Verhofstadt laughs and says that would be “the worst possible outcome.”
Theresa May is “pathetic”
When it looks like the Brexit deal is off because May hasn’t cleared everything with DUP leader Arlene Foster, Verhofstadt’s chief of staff Guillaume McLaughlin responds angrily:
What the f*** is wrong with her. That’s insane. ‘I don’t know, I haven’t spoken to her?’ That’s ridiculous. Pathetic, pathetic.
Olly Robbins asked to become a Belgium citizen
Verhofstadt reveals that at one point, the UK’s chief negotiator for Brexit joked he would become a Belgium citizen because he didn’t want to return to the UK.
Brexiteer MP is a f*****
When Verhofstadt met Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell, it’s safe to say they didn’t get on.
Rosindell claimed that the EU could “impose” a hard border on Ireland if it didn’t agree to the trading agreement the UK was asking for.
After the MP left, a member of Verhofstadt’s staff, Edel Crosse, said:
I’m most proud of you when you take on a Tory and win. He was a f****, yeah? I’m delighted.
Verhofstadt agrees, adding: “And we are… we are causing the problem?! You’re leaving! There is no border, you’re creating a border!”
Rosindell even responded to the clip.
A statement in advance of tonight’s BBC 4 documentary, which allegedly shows Guy Verhofstadt’s people being a bit s… https://t.co/KDeWU4PPWp
— Andrew Rosindell MP (@Andrew Rosindell MP)
David Davis “doesn’t give a f***” about the Irish Border
In another outburst, McLaughlin returns from a meeting with David Davis, then-Brexit secretary, and needs to blow off some steam.
He fills Verhofstadt in on their discussion:
David Davis explained to us that Ireland is not a problem, they have got lots of control systems, they know everybody who is going in and out across the border, they have automatic… and they will take a loss in the excise duties that they are getting but it doesn’t really matter.
So basically, ’we don’t really give a fuck what goes through our border, in any case we know who the baddies are, there might be a problem with terrorism, and if there’s a problem with terrorism that might be a problem, but okay.’
Crosse replies, saying Davis has his “head in the f***ing clouds”
The UK would “rather protect lawyers than children”
In a debate on citizen’s rights, EU official Sabine Weyand complained about the UK’s priorities when Verhofstadt raised concerns about the rights of children born after Brexit.
Weyand: “We fully agree on that and I think it’s very ugly because the UK wants to protect lawyers but doesn’t want to protect children.”
Verhofstadt: “It could be worse, bankers and children”
Weyand: “I think they want to do [want to protect] bankers, lawyers, but not children. But maybe they will protect the children of bankers and lawyers.”
Then the two of them laugh.
Part one of Brexit: Behind Closed Doors aired on BBC Four at 9pm on May 8, with part two on screens on May 9.