The advisor to Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, pictured, has raised a number of objections to points in Theresa May’s Mansion House speech.

Once again, Theresa May’s Brexit wish-list falls apart when it comes to the detail.

She is an amateur. Worse, her advisors and ministers must also be amateurs – otherwise her speech would not have mentioned her proposal; her team would have had to come up with something else.

I wonder whether this is a further indication of division in the Tory Cabinet over Brexit. They can’t agree, so they send her out with a half-baked compromise idea that simply won’t work.

The situation is reminiscent of Geoffrey Howe’s resignation speech – which was also prompted by disagreements over Europe: “It’s rather like sending our opening batsmen to the crease only for them to find that before the first ball is bowled, their bats have been broken by the team captain.”

Except in this case, it’s the team who have broken the captain’s bat.

Theresa May’s chances of securing a deep free-trade deal with the EU were dealt a blow when Stefaan de Rynck, the main adviser to the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, stressed that the rules of the single market required far more than her chief proposal – a mutual recognition of standards.

May claimed in her speech last Friday that the UK could negotiate a future trade relationship based on mutual recognition of standards overseen by a third party court, made up of EU and UK nominees.

But De Rynck said: “The EU has moved away in the wake of the financial crisis from mutual recognition of national standards to a centralised approach with a single EU rule book and common enforcement structures and single supervisory structures.”

He added that EU rules were clear that the European court of justice could intervene at any point to declare that mutual recognition of standards was undermining the single market’s integrity.

Source: EU Brexit adviser deals blow to Theresa May’s free-trade proposal | Politics | The Guardian

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