The European Union managed to keep unity between member states during the first phase of Brexit negotiations but could begin to struggle to hold consensus as trade negotiations grow closer.
The Conservative MP for South Thanet travelled to Brussels to meet the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator towards the end of February and said he got the “impression” problems could be starting to arise among the EU27.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk shortly after meeting with the Frenchman, along with the Common’s Committee for Exiting the EU, Mr Mackinlay named countries he thought were starting to see life “differently” to the rest of the bloc.
He said: “It was an impression I got when we were in the session with Michel Barnier, he keeps talking about having unity among the 27. I am just increasing just feeling that he is struggling to keep that line a little.
“The reality of the importance of British trade to many countries, particularly Germany obviously with its massive industry, with two million jobs in Germany reliant on the UK economy.
“I think some reality is coming into play with many of these members and I am pretty sure the Visegrád Group four of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary see life a little bit different as well from the Commissions view of the world.
“But, what is clear, it felt like a Groundhog Day really from being there in November, the same conversations about financial services can’t be part of the trade deal which is going to be a huge stumbling block.
“It just seems to me to be too many red lines that cannot be overcome from the EU’s point of view. Ceta was mentioned a bit more than before as a potential framework, but obviously, financial services still not in it.”