Now Brexiteers claim the EU has ‘used time against us’

David Davis MP (left) and Jacob Rees-Mogg MP at the launch of the Institute of Economic Affairs late

David Davis MP (left) and Jacob Rees-Mogg MP at the launch of the Institute of Economic Affairs latest Brexit research paper, in central London. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A right-wing think tank has claimed that the European Union has 'used time against us' in what is the latest bizarre excuse from Brexiteers.

Shanker Singham, the director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), made the claim while launching an alternative Brexit plan.

He appeared on-stage alongside prominent Tory leavers David Davis and Jacob Rees-Mogg, who were also speaking at the event.

Singham said: 'We must use time better, the EU has used time against us. We must use time as our friend by accelerating our actions.'

He added: 'If we continue on the present course, Brexit will be a damage limitation process.'

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The IEA's plan urges ministers to seek a 'basic' free trade agreement for goods and pursue 'regulatory freedom and trade independence.'

Singham's comments about time will raise eyebrows with those who have paid close attention to the figures leading Brexit.

In just two examples of bad time management the Brexit secretary David Davis and Boris Johnson, a leading figure in the Leave camp, resigned from their positions and avoided offering an alternative plan. Days later, during his first week of the job as new Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab skipped the first round of Brexit talks to attend drinks instead.

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The IEA's event came just hours before Mrs May was due to meet senior ministers in a bid to save her Chequers blueprint for Brexit.

There is likely to be a lengthy inquest into what went wrong at last week's informal EU summit in Salzburg where May was bluntly told key elements of the Chequers plan would not work.

The prime minister insists her proposal, which would see Britain maintain a 'common rulebook' with the EU for trade in goods and agriculture, is the only credible option on the table which would avoid the return of a 'hard border' between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

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