Time for cool heads – final opportunity for a deal must be seized

16 October 2020

Labour Brexit Spokesperson Brendan Howlin has called for cool heads after the announcement by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the UK should prepare for a no-deal Brexit following the passing of his self-imposed deadline for a deal.

Deputy Howlin said:

“The artificial deadline set by Boris Johnson has come and gone but hopefully a final chance still remains to get a deal. The EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier has offered to go to London on Monday to continue negotiations and I have no doubt that work will be done next week. As we tick towards the final deadline a final opportunity for a deal must be seized.

“Boris Johnson has today told the UK Parliament that it might have to settle for an Australian type deal. However, the EU doesn’t yet have a trade deal with Australia and currently trades with Australia on WTO terms so that is essentially a no deal Brexit.

“The impact of Covid on both the UK and European economies has been and remains severe with the contraction predicted by the IMF for Britain the second deepest fall amongst the G7 group. It would be a failure of politics if we compounded this difficulty with a no deal Brexit.

“Boris Johnson has repeatedly stated that his ambition is to achieve ‘a Canada style’ trade agreement with the EU with zero-tariff, zero quota access to the single market without accepting EU rules on competition policy, subsidies, social protection or the environment.

“However, the trade deal negotiated between the European Union and Canada contains some tariffs on meat, poultry and eggs which would significantly impact Irish food exports. It does also not remove border checks which is a significant issue in the context of Northern Ireland.

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