Brexit negotiations should begin immediately and not be put on hold for elections in Europe, due to be held next year, the former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said.
The MP said "we need to get on with triggering Article 50, as the government has said, in early 2017," or risk a "neverendum". Article 50 will formerly start the UK's exit from the EU and formal negotiations cannot begin until then.
"We shouldn’t wait to see the outcome of the two elections in Germany and France – that suggestion is yet another attempt to turn this referendum result into a 'neverendum'," he said, writing in the Sun on Sunday.
France and Germany will head to the polls next year, in April and early autumn, respectively. Government officials have already confirmed Brexit will not be set in motion until 2017, however, there have been calls for the major step to be taken after the elections are decided.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has urged Prime Minister Theresa May to wait until the autumn. May could be eyeing up April to kick off the Brexit talks, giving the UK a two-year window to negotiate new terms to its relationship with the bloc, according to recent reports
"My time in industry before I came into politics taught me that every negotiation begins with belief in the strength of your own position," said Iain Duncan Smith, who resigned from his post at the department for work and pensions before the EU referendum in a high-profile spat with the former chancellor George Osborne and cuts to welfare payments.
The Leave supporter added: "Let us leave as soon as possible, so that we can get on and make the most of our new-found independence."
He also warned of the return of so-called "Project Fear" in putting off the triggering of Article 50.
"… the same people now try to frighten us by inventing a new bottom line, saying that whatever happens, we must remain in the single market, with all its rules and regulations."