No deal, or the real deal? Preparing to walk away
The PM has claimed an ‘Australian-style’ deal is nothing to be afraid of. Now he needs to get his Government into gear and prepare this country properly for such a "no deal" outcome. If the EU is preparing - then why aren’t we?
The last 2 weeks have seen the start of so-called ‘intense’ trade negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union - negotiations which are taking place face-to-face now on a weekly basis for the duration of July.
However, after the first week we saw little to no movement, with talks even finishing a day early because of a lack of progress. This week the talks were in London and while there are some rumours of compromises from the EU on fisheries, little else has been reported.
So, with negotiations going nowhere fast - and even German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying EU Members States need to prepare for No Deal - why has the Government gone quiet on our own No Deal preparations?
While there is the obvious argument of delays due to COVID-19, it is not as if the Government has eased up on negotiations and we have rightly ruled out an extension to the Transition Period, so the clock has continued to tick and preparations need to be made.
Yes, we want a trade deal with the EU, however, it would be foolish of the Government not to prepare for the possibility of a so-called ‘Australia-style’ exit.
The Government has planned for a 6-month customs check holiday for EU businesses exporting into the UK, however, the EU has not reciprocated so this does very little if anything at all to help UK businesses. If companies and the public are to properly prepare, they need to be aware of changes which they will be expected to make.
Just this week the Chief EU Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier, confirmed EU borders will be ready to implement full customs checks on January 1st if no deal can be reached, yet the UK Government has said our borders will not be ready until next July. Why, when we have already had 4 years to prepare for this?
Getting ready for No Deal should not just be limited to reforms to our border controls and procedures, but should also focus on new trading relations outside the EU. It is for this reason it was worrying to hear Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss MP say there was no deadline for trade discussions with the United States of America, arguing there was no rush.
This is a bizarre mentality – time is very much of the essence on these trade discussions. If we fail to secure a trade deal with the EU then it will be important for the UK to have alternative trade deals already signed off and ready to be implemented. What’s more, making good progress on alternative trade deals while still negotiating with the EU would give us a massive advantage, making it very clear to the EU we are ready to step out into the world and will not only survive, but thrive, once free from the shackles of Brussels.
The public is very capable of dealing with a No Deal exit. However, there does need to be clarity to allow time to properly prepare. This is why if talks still bring about no realistic progress by the end of this month, the Prime Minister should put an end to this toing and froing once and for all and inform the EU we intend to walk away.
This is a stance the Government themselves supported during the last election when they won such a large majority. It is not as if they do not have the mandate to do so.
While the Government has been making all the right noises to the media and the public, their actions don’t yet match their rhetoric. If the UK is to continue to hold firm on our negotiating position, then from what we hear from the EU side about a lack of compromise on our red lines, a No Deal ‘Australia-style’ exit is the most likely outcome and is something we should not be afraid of.
With little progress on planning after 4 years of waiting for a full Brexit to be delivered, I am concerned the Prime Minister is set to roll over and accept some form of extension by another name – an ‘Implementation Period’ as some have called it. A half-in half-out extension like this may appeal to some within Government, however, it would be unacceptable to many who supported the Prime Minster at the last election.
The Great British Public need to know what is going on directly from Government, rather than from rumours in the often-biased media. And why are negotiating agendas no longer being released prior to each week’s talks? What is being discussed which they don’t want us to see?
The Prime Minister has a clear mandate from the people of this country and it is to Get Britain Out of the EU and ‘Get Brexit Done’.
This means walking away without a trade deal if necessary. The PM has claimed an ‘Australian-style’ deal is nothing to be afraid of. Now he needs to get his Government into gear and prepare this country properly for such an outcome. If the EU is preparing - then why aren’t we?
Jayne Adye is the Director of the leading grassroots, cross-party, Eurosceptic campaign Get Britain Out
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