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EU leaders need to get serious over Brexit: British Brexit secretary
LONDON, Oct. 1 -- Politicians attempting to overturn the result of Britain's European Union (EU) referendum were condemned Monday by Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab.
In a keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, Raab was also critical of jibes directed at Prime Minister Theresa May.
He told a packed conference hall that a no-deal Brexit was possible.
He said May was constructive and respectful during her recent two-day meeting in Salzburg with EU leaders.
"In return we heard jibes from senior leaders. And we saw a starkly one-sided approach to negotiation, where the EU's theological approach allows no room for serious compromise," said Raab.
He added: "And yet we are expected to cast aside the territorial integrity of our own country. If the EU want a deal, they need to get serious. And they need to do it now. At the same time, as in any negotiation, we will listen to alternative ways of delivering on the strategic criteria we have set out."
Raab said Britain's Brexit proposals would deliver a historic agreement that provides a roadmap out of the EU and a final deal that will be good for the whole country.
He also laid into what he described as the efforts of a small, but influential group of senior politicians and establishment figures to overturn the result of the referendum, adding: "They want to stop us leaving."
He said: "You can just picture them, sitting in an expensive advertising agency, discussing how to claim that black is white. 'Our research shows that the public doesn't like the idea of a second referendum. That's all right -- we'll rebrand it a people's vote. They might buy that."
He accused them of bankrolling a campaign to scare the wits out of the public, adding: "it would be pathetic if it wasn't so dangerous."
Raab added: "Some people say that no deal is unthinkable. Wrong. What is unthinkable is that this government, or any British government, could be bullied by the threat of some kind of economic embargo into signing a one-sided deal against our country's interests.
"The reality, yes, there are risks and potential short-term disruption, but we'll deal with any problems that might arise in the event of no deal in a calm and sensible manner."
Raab also warned that disunity among Conservatives could put Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street.
He said: "That's why we must come together over Brexit and recognise that what divides us is nothing compared to our struggle with the Labour party."