European Union negotiators must decide whether they want a Brexit deal that prioritises people or the EU project, the UK's most senior MEP said today.
Conservative MEP Syed Kamall, co-leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, told the European Parliament that voters were watching to see whether politicians were capable of putting the interests of ordinary people ahead of their own.
He said: "Voters, citizens and workers don't care about legal technicalities, they don't sit at home hoping the UK is made an example of. They simply want both sides to sort it out.
"They want to keep making a living, keep selling their products, keep their jobs, keep travelling and keep safe.
"So, quite simply, the EU needs to decide whether - is this a deal for the European people or a deal for the European project?"
Mr Kamall was taking part in a European Parliament debate on last month's EU summit at which it was agreed to move Brexit talks onto the second phase, when the withdrawal agreement and the future UK/EU trade relationship will be discussed.
He insisted the goal of both sides must be to secure a unique, mutually advantageous deal.
"While the UK asks for a bespoke deal, EU negotiators are asking which template. But we all know that while a specific trade deal may act as a template for others, no two trade deals are exactly alike. After all, the Canada-EU agreement was bespoke."
He added: "The ECR Group believes that this is a question not limited to Brexit but a fundamental question about the very future of the EU.
"Is the EU serving the needs of its peoples? Is the EU offering solutions to the core challenges its member states face? Could the EU do less, but do it better?