THE Prime Minister did not fully understand or sufficiently focus on the EU’s limitations when she entered into Brexit talks, according to a world-leading expert in negotiation.

Harvard Professor Deepak Malhotra said in 2016 that the Leave campaign was based on “lies and false promises”, when he forecast that Brexit would fail. He said yesterday the UK had less leverage than Leave supporters had claimed, and the EU was restricted in the concessions it could make to the UK.

Speaking on BBC Good Morning Scotland, Malhotra said Theresa May “could have done a better job” focussing on her own political constraints.

“She didn’t quite understand or sufficiently focus on the constraints and the lines of the other side, so that’s always a big mistake,” he said. The bigger issue was her refusal to manage UK expectations, thereby fuelling the narrative of false promises from the “hard-Brexit crowd” and making it her own, which had consequences.

“First you become trapped in a no-win situation. You’re not going to get what you want, but now it becomes hard to admit that and back down, so you keep doubling down and tripling down.”

He said the second problem was wasting valuable time that could have been spent preparing the UK for what would be a deal that fell short of what Leave campaigners had promised.

“She didn’t prepare her country for what was actually going to be happening and nobody was talking about the reality of the situation.

“Now if you actually win the election, or deal or partnership … you now actually have to deliver on all those promises that helped you get the other side to say yes. This is what the Leave campaign did and what May essentially adopted as her own point of view. In order to stay in power, let’s tell the people what they want to hear. But then, you’re in power and now you have to deliver on it.”