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"I want my money back," former prime minister Margaret Thatcher demanded from the European Union back in the 1980s. She was of course asking for the famous rebate which Britain received from Brussels. But now roles have been reversed and it is the European Union which is demanding money from Britain - the infamous divorce settlement.

I sincerely doubt that the "Iron Lady" would have been too impressed with the present bargaining tactics of the British government, because Britain has been on the back foot since talks started. The European Union knows full well any money for Brussels is almost politicial suicide for the British government. Prime Minister Theresa May has offered 20 billion; the EU wants more than 100. But perhaps it is time that the British government revived the "Thatcher spirit" when negotiating with the European Union. Perhaps a threat of "no deal, no cash" should be a bargaining tool which Britain could use. The British government appears to be lost in the Brexit negotiations, with the EU making demands which Britain could never meet.

The big divisions in the Conservative Party are only making the problem worse. The European Union can’t demand a divorce settlement when nothing has been agreed. Money first, talks later is not the way forward. Britain should be at least prepared to walk away with no deal. It is economic suicide but it may be the only option.