The former Work and Pensions Secretary admitted “no one knows” how negotiations will pan out after Article 50 is triggered but remained confident it was in the interests of the European bloc to come to an agreement with Britain.
Speaking to John Pienaar on BBC Radio 5 Live, the Tory politician said: “The simple answer is ‘of course we don’t [know how negotiations will pan out]’ but the reality is that the debate here in the UK about this has been ludicrously one-sided.
“As though the UK has to figure out what it wants and go in and say ‘this is what we want to get’.
“The answer is there’s another group over there called ‘all those countries that want to decide what they want’ and the trick here is to figure out what’s in the best interests of both sides to be able to operate and trade eventually and what agreement they come to must be based around access and fair trade.
“That’s really where the UK and Europe really needs to want to head for.”
The Chingford and Woodford Green MP dismissed the idea the UK would “get a kicking” during negotiations.
“The honest truth is I don’t believe that will happen for one very simple reason – because a kick at the UK is a kick at themselves,” he said.
Also featuring on Sunday’s Pienaar’s Politics was the Labour Party’s Angela Eagle, who entered a leadership challenge to overthrow Jeremy Corbyn in July but withdrew eight days later.
She said: “One of the big issues is whether this is going to be a punitive divorce or whether that kind of rational thing that Iain was talking about is actually going to happen.
“Politics increasingly is based on emotion and emotional reactions… I think the jury’s out on what will happen with negotiations”
Also speaking on the show was former Lib Dems leader Paddy Ashdown, who blasted the Government for having “no idea” about its approach to Brexit negotiations.
He said: “Does anybody know? No, and that includes the Government. I have never seen a government, never… in such extraordinary disarray, they have not the first idea what’s going to happen.”