David Davis has been snubbed by a committee which has a government majority...
For months, senior Tories – including the Brexit secretary – have been talking up the prospect of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. That’s the possibility of leaving without any agreement on trade or customs with the EU’s then-26 member states.
Indeed, only in October, the odds were slashed that this could actually happen: something previously thought of as inconceivable. It has led to splits in the Cabinet, with more sensible members calling Davis out.
Almost everyone agrees ‘no deal’ would be total masochistic idiocy. The UK would fall into World Trade Organisation rules on tariffs – with levies far higher than any sensible trade arrangement would demand. Our borders and customs would be thrown into chaos.
So as far as negotiating hands go, it’s a pretty poor display – and one that is leaving businesses and workers feeling nervous at best.
Well, another crucial body just joined the chorus warning against a ‘no deal’ Brexit – the influential, cross-party Brexit Select Committee.
They have released the results of a major inquiry on the progress of the Brexit negotiations – and conclude their chapter on our future relationship with the EU like so (it’s worth quoting in full):
“[A no deal scenario] would be chaotic and damaging for the UK economy and would leave many businesses and whole sectors in limbo facing huge uncertainty. The Government must do everything it can to avoid such an outcome.
“The Government has said that if no deal is reached, specific sector by sector agreements could still be made to minimise damage to the economies of both the UK and EU member states, but there is nothing to suggest that this would be a straightforward or swift process, or even possible.
“The Prime Minister has previously stated that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’. It is difficult to imagine any possible deal, consistent with WTO and other international treaties, that would be more damaging to the UK’s interests than leaving the EU with no deal whatsoever in place.”
The SNP – which worded that brutal final line, welcomed the report.
Peter Grant MP, the SNP’s Europe spokesperson, said:
“The findings in this cross-party report must now be heard and acted upon by this UK government – which has, for more than 500 days, offered nothing more than soundbites and rhetoric.
“Despite the UK government holding a majority on this Committee, thanks to the support of their DUP colleagues, the warnings are unanimous over the government’s” lack of Brexit plans.
This is the scale of Brexit scrutiny and anger in Parliament – before there’s even any meat on the bones.
We look forward to seeing what the response is like when the real details start to emerge…
Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.
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