British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to sever ties with the EU by the end of the year, either with a trading arrangement in place, or under WTO rules, but many are sceptical as to whether a comprehensive deal could be hashed out in such a short time frame.
But given that Johnson has nailed his political colours to the pledge of delivering Brexit by the end of 2020; how damaging would it be for the Conservative Party if the UK’s departure from the EU ended up being postponed yet again? UKIP’s Lester Taylor gave his views on the matter.
Sputnik: How do you see Brexit negotiations between the UK and EU panning out?
Lester Taylor: Being a UKIP member, I would prefer that we went in the end with no deal, because I think that’s the cleanest way of getting Brexit done and it would certainly concentrate the minds of the EU, and we’d then get a deal.
I think what’s going to happen for the first six months of this year, is that the EU is going to stall like mad, because what they want is an extension to the talks, and they want us to change the law which is going through at the moment, that prevents the extension from our side.
The EU wants to convince the British government that they need to extend, and they can only do that by making little progress in the talks. If they do manage to get the extension, that will be the end of Boris Johnson, and if they don’t then they are left with six months to come to a deal of some sort, then of course there is always the option of even changing the withdrawal agreement treaty, because they could conceivably in international law do that, to extend later on down the line, I’m hoping that nothing like that raises its ugly head.
Sputnik: Would a WTO rules Brexit be better for Britain than severing ties with Brussels with a bad deal?
Lester Taylor: A soft deal would involve the UK handing over such things as our fishing industry, and that’s already coming under severe threat as the EU is trying to get us to swap access to our fishing with the city being able to deal freely in the EU, which the EU needs it to do anyway, so I can’t see the benefits of that particular trade off.
WTO also means that straight away we’ve concentrated the minds, because everybody looks at it and thinks “I’ve got to sell into the UK”, therefore all the car makers will be pushing hard, the wine producers and all the farmers in the EU, that produce stuff that we buy, will be pushing hard to try and get their stuff in.
It will also force them to lower their prices to us, as they compete with the rest of the world for all sorts of things.
Sputnik: Is Boris Johnson a true Brexiteer?
Lester Taylor: He is actually in some ways not inscrutable as much as he’s got a front, this messy haired type bloke, a bit of a funster and all the rest of it, he comes out with a bit of Latin and it’s very hard to see past him, and also you’ve got to understand that it’s not all him, there’s a lot of Dominic Cummings behind him, so it’s very hard to gauge that.
He would be very foolish to be an opportunist, and use Brexit as some sort of a political game, it would bite him hard later on down the line, so I think to be honest what’s going to happen is that he will be kept on the right path, as long as parties like UKIP are there to scrutinise him.