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    'Better Option All Round, Would Be for Britain to Join EEA' - Journalist

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    British Prime Minister has addressed her EU counterparts in Salzburg, urging the bloc to help facilitate the best possible Brexit deal. Sputnik spoke with Journalist Marcus Stead to find out if the deadlock would be ended within the coming months.

    Sputnik: Would a no deal Brexit be better than leaving with the Chequers deal?

    Marcus Stead: A no deal Brexit has certain risks attached to it because the better option all round, would be for Britain to join the EEA because we could have free movement of trade, goods and services and we could suspend free movement of people under the Liechtenstein precedent. No deal does have a huge amount of risk, but it is better than a bad deal.

    Sputnik: How will the issue with the Northern Irish border be resolved?

    Marcus Stead: We need to be a lot more pragmatic and look to see how land borders across the world work, particularly the Norway Sweden border, where there is no hard border and they are making increasing use of technology as time passes. There are numerous examples from around the world, where there are different examples of land borders between countries, so we need to be pragmatic and open minded, but I do think that this is one of the most pressing issues.

    Sputnik: Should there be a second Brexit referendum?

    Marcus Stead: Salzburg in many ways is a sideshow because; if there is a deal loosely based on chequers, that will come in October or November and will come before the House of Commons and that’s where the chaos is really going to begin.

    It became clear within days of the chequers meeting in July, that getting it through the House of Commons would be a long shot. There is not going to be a second referendum, I am absolutely convinced of this. It is enshrined in UK law, that the UK will leave the EU on the 29th March 2019 at 11pm. Parliament does not return until the middle of November because we’re in the middle of the party conference season, the electoral commission says it needs 6 months’ notice to hold a referendum, it’s almost already too late for that because we’d be looking at a lengthy parliamentary debate about what the question would be, what would happen if the deal was rejected? Does it mean that we’d go back and re-negotiate? Or would the UK stay in the EU? Would the EU even allow the UK to stay in on the same terms? Probably not, they would insist on some financial recompense for bailing out Italy.

    Even if the legislation could be pushed through Parliament, the electoral commission would then have to have to appoint an official designated campaign commission for both sides, then we’d have the campaign and this is just not possible within the six month time scale.

    A much more likely scenario, is that the deal Mrs May comes back with; loosely based on  chequers, is going to be rejected by Parliament, and that would result in a private member’s bill, which results in the UK joining the EEA and I believe calls for this action will get much louder in the weeks ahead and it’s not a bad outcome for all sides.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Brexit, European Economic Area (EEA), European Union, Theresa May, Salzburg, United Kingdom
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