As Prime Minister May was set to begin Brexit negotiations with the EU, she sent a defiant warning to Brussels urging against a combative approach to talks. She said in January 2017 that if the EU sought to punish the UK, they would risk European values being “crushed into tiny pieces”. Mrs May said: “I believe there is a lesson in Brexit not just for Britain but, if it wants to succeed, for the EU itself.
“You can respond by trying to hold things together by force, tightening a vice-like grip that ends up crushing into tiny pieces the very things you want to protect.
“Or you can respect difference, cherish it even, and reform the EU so that it deals better with the wonderful diversity of its member states.”
Mrs May also reiterated the desire of UK voters to stop paying membership contributions to Brussels.
She added: “Because we will not be members of the single market, we will not contribute significantly to the EU.
Brexit news: May warned Europe not to try and punish Britain
Brexit news: May said European values were in danger of being “crushed into tiny pieces”
“The days of Britain making vast contributions to the EU will end.”
The former Prime Minister also made a statement which would ultimately come back to haunt her premiership.
Mrs May added: “No deal for Britain is better than a bad deal for Britain.”
After Prime Minister May invoked Article 50 on March 29, 2017, she would go on to have a torrid time in her attempts to get a deal through Parliament.
The first draft of her agreement – unveiled at Chequers – was torn apart by MPs on both sides of the house.
READ MORE:Ian Blackford stunned as SNP plans for ‘battle with Boris’ unravel
Brexit news: May would eventually resign after her withdrawal agreement was defeated three times
The EU also snubbed the deal, with chief negotiator Michel Barnier accusing Mrs May of “cherry picking” the single market’s four freedoms.
Things would not improve for Mrs May, even once the EU were on board with her deal.
The Prime Minister lost the first meaningful vote on her deal in January 2019 – defeated by 432 votes to 202.
The 230-vote margin of defeat was the worst for any government in modern parliamentary history.
The second meaningful vote in March saw a closer result, but the Government was still defeated by 391 votes to 242.
Brexit travel guide: Is my passport valid for Europe after Brexit? [INSIGHT]
Polling guru John Curtice issues morbid forecast to Johnson [ANALYSIS]
Leadsom warns Bercow will be stripped of peerage over bullying claims [INSIGHT]
Brexit news: The EU snubbed May’s first draft, known as ‘Chequers’
Brexit news: Johnson secured an 80 seat majority in last month’s election
And then came the last defeat for Mrs May, as even the promise of resignation could not convince Parliament to vote the deal through.
Three meaningful votes and one deadline extension later, the embattled Prime Minister eventually resigned in July 2019.
While Mrs May’s fighting talk in 2017 was ultimately in vain, Prime Minister Johnson’s 80-seat majority means the UK is finally set for a Brexit breakthrough.
Even more promising for Downing Street, former Chancellor George Osborne has claimed today that the EU has lots its “maximum leverage” ahead of crunch trade negotiations.
He told Bloomberg: “The one thing I’d say is we have moved beyond the point where the EU had the maximum leverage.
“Once the heat of the departure starts to abate, sensible heads in Berlin, Paris and Brussels will say, ‘how do we create a new relationship with the UK?’”