No-deal Brexit would be 'disastrous', says UK minister

2019-01-10 22:00

Britain's business minister on Thursday warned that the prospect of crashing out of the European Union without an agreement would be "disastrous" for the country, contradicting official government policy.

A no-deal Brexit would be "a disastrous situation in which we move to the most rudimentary terms of trade with our closest partners", Greg Clark told BBC radio.

In such a scenario, Britain would be forced to trade with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms, which could mean much higher tariffs for some products like cars.

As things stand, Britain will crash out of the bloc on March 29 if parliament fails to approve an agreement the government has struck with the EU.

MPs are set to vote on the agreement on Tuesday.

"It is my strong view that we need to come together now, we need to act to avoid no-deal because I don't think there is anything remotely like a majority in parliament that will tolerate it," he said.

Clark urged MPs to "put differences aside", adding: "We should conduct ourselves in the way our reputation internationally has always been - to be pragmatic and dependable."

As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Britain on Thursday, Clark also said of Japanese businesses: "We need to resolve this concern, this very real concern that they have of us crashing out on March 29."

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