London — Former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, one of the key architects of Britain’s vote in 2016 to leave the EU, will meet with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on Monday.
Farage announced that he’d secured the long-sought meeting in a video clip posted on his Twitter feed on Thursday. It’ll take place at 11am on Monday in Brussels, he said, appealing to viewers to submit questions for him to ask, from which he’d pick the best three.
Prime Minister Theresa May is unlikely to welcome Farage’s meeting with Barnier at a time when she’s trying to win the EU round to her vision of Brexit — one in which Britain’s access to European markets for both goods and services is as unaltered as possible.
Farage was one of the most prominent campaigners for Brexit, and as a member of the European parliament since 1999 has consistently needled European politicians in the chamber. He’s also repeatedly said Britain should walk away from Brexit talks with no deal if need be.
"Sending Nigel Farage to Brussels to sort out Brexit is like sending an arsonist to put out a house fire," said James McGrory, executive director of Open Britain, which is seeking to soften Brexit. "He has already done enough damage to our country and our international standing."
In November, Farage complained on his LBC radio programme that Barnier had rejected his request for a formal meeting, suggesting only that they meet in a bar. On Thursday, he complained that a "procession" of "remoaners", including Andrew Adonis, a member of the House of Lords, former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and former chancellor of the exchequer Ken Clarke had all been to see Barnier.
"It’s about time he heard the view of the 17.4-million people who voted to leave," Farage told Sky News. "It’s perfectly clear we voted to leave: to leave not just the EU, but its single market and to take back control of our borders and it’s about time he heard that argument."