Nigel Farage reveals his ‘fear’ over Brexit
British and EU negotiators were locked in talks on Friday in a desperate attempt to make a significant breakthrough in the long-running and often bitter trade deal negotiations. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier did not return to Brussels as planned on Friday morning, instead deciding to remain in London for talks. A key briefing he was scheduled to hold with EU diplomats to update them on the progress of trade talks with the UK was also cancelled.
But time is running out to get an agreement over the line before the transition period deadline on December 31. Significant issues – predominantly around fisheries, state aid and the EU’s level playing field – are still proving to be huge hurdles to overcome. Over the past year, Mr Johnson has continued to insist the UK will “take back control” once it fully cuts ties with the EU and begins life outside the bloc on January 1, 2021. But Naomi Smith, chief executive of Best for Britain – the campaign group launched to stop Brexit and continue the UK’s membership of the EU – has warned of the devastating impact a a no-deal Brexit could have on the UK.
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She told Express.co.uk: “The UK will be condemned to rising prices, falling GDP, and a Brexit-Covid double-whammy much more brutal than it need be.
“For the UK, the consequences of leaving the EU without a deal would be huge. The economic cost of new tariffs and trading arrangements, brought in during a pandemic, would clearly see many businesses go under.
“The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) recently said no-deal would cause a ‘serious’ short-term hit and leave long-term scarring on trade, productivity and jobs.
“Given the Government’s focus on creating jobs in the past month, and its levelling-up programme more broadly, a no-deal Brexit would fatally undermine the Govt’s domestic agenda.
“On top of that, it would undermine the notion of Global Britain if we end up in an argument with our nearest neighbours and pass controversial, law-breaking, legislation such as some of the clauses contained in the Internal Market Bill.”
Ms Smith claimed those who voted for the Conservative Party in last year’s general election are now more unsure over Mr Johnson’s pledge the UK would “take back control” after Brexit and said the Government must quickly focus on how it can successfully deliver on that promise.
She added: “The pledge to ‘take back control’ was a Boris Johnson manifesto commitment, but polls during the pandemic show voters who backed him last year are less dogmatic than he is.
“There’s widespread support for participation in EU programmes such as Horizon (cutting-edge scientific research) and Erasmus (allowing students to participate in work placements abroad and exchanges).
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“We’re passed the issue of whether we leave the EU or not. We’ve ‘taken back control’, now it’s time to figure out what we want to do with that control – do we want access to the EU’s single market?
“It’s like being a member of the WTO – there are rules you have to follow. Following them doesn’t mean you’ve lost control.”
On Friday, Downing Street warned trade talks with the EU have reached a “very difficult point” and repeated there would not be an agreement that “doesn’t respect our fundamental principles on sovereignty, fishing and control”.
A spokesman for Mr Johnson said: “We are committed to working hard to try and reach an agreement with the EU and the talks are ongoing.
“There are still some issues to overcome. Time is in very short supply and we are at a very difficult point in the talks.
“What is certain is we will not be able to agree a deal that doesn’t respect our fundamental principles on sovereignty, fishing and control.
“Our negotiating team is working extremely hard in order to bridge the gaps that remain.”
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