The European Union will play hardball with the United Kingdom over Brexit negotiations, according to former ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers. Brexit has the potential to become 'gory, bitter and twisted,' Rogers said today.

Britain could end up in a legal void

Rogers, who resigned in January after several disagreements with the government over the terms of Britain's departure from the European Union, warned that Britain's plans to leave the EU could take up to ten years and could leave the UK in a 'legal void'.

During a meeting with the Commons committee, Rogers was asked whether German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the other leaders of the 27 EU countries would implement different deals for different industries, like Prime Minister Theresa May desires.

“The unity of the 27 countries in the European Union will be prioritised over Britain's future. I think Chancellor Merkel and other leaders will agree that there will be no sectoral deals. It is not in the best interest of the EU to establish different deals for different industries,' Rogers said.

Rogers: EU leaders predicting 2022 Brexit at the earliest

Rogers continued, dismissing Theresa May's two year Brexit timetable: 'The key players, the key officials, the key technocrats and the key theologians in the EU are thinking that Britain won't have terms to leave the EU secured by the end of 2019. Many are predicting 2022 at the very earliest'.

Rogers said that he expected “quite ferocious” legal disputes over the size of the UK’s exit bill and what the contents of it are.

Recent reports have suggested that the EU will ask for a settlement of £60 billion before they even begin discussions with the United Kingdom.

Over the past several months, Theresa May has continually reiterated that 'no deal for the UK is better than a bad deal'. However, Rogers rejected May's claims, stating that 'no trade deal would be disastrous for the UK economy.

It would leave Britain on a cliff-edge. The Prime Minister would be insane to damage the UK economy in that manner'.

Theresa May, by her own timetable, plans to trigger article 50 to set in motion Britain's departure from the European Union at the end of March.