03:51 GMT12 July 2020
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    Speaking on radio station LBC, US President Donald Trump criticised British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, claiming that certain aspects of it could damage the prospects of a trade agreement being achieved between Washington and Westminster. But is this really the case? Journalist Marcus Stead offers his views on the matter.

    Sputnik: Would a closer trade relationship with the US be beneficial for Britain after Brexit?

    Marcus Stead: A lot gets talked about things like chlorinated chicken but things like salad are sprayed with chlorine already, so this is a bit of a storm in a teacup really. If Brexit takes place, the most important thing of all is that the UK is outside of the customs union, because if we remained inside the customs union, that would hamper our ability to form trade deals not just with the United States, but with growing markets in Asia and South America.

    A strong trade deal with the United States is desirable, but we also need to broker them with the wider world, places with strong economies and growing populations, because that’s the future of this world in many ways; China, Singapore, the growing economies in South America, and being inside the customs union could sabotage all that.

    Sputnik: Would Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal be the best way for the UK to leave the EU?

    Marcus Stead: This morning Nigel Farage put his ego before national interest, it was a desperate attempt to stay relevant and there’s a chance he’ll go down in history as somebody whose actions ultimately stopped Brexit from happening, and the issue of first past the post is at the heart of making this election so unpredictable.

    On the leave side, how many of those approximately one hundred and forty-eight Labour seats that voted leave in 2016 are in areas where the Conservatives are a toxic brand? In those areas, that’s where Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is likely to do well.

    Yesterday there were rumours that the Brexit Party was only planning on contesting seats seemingly in the Labour heartlands, and President Trump called for Farage and Boris Johnson to enter into some kind of pact, but that is not going to happen.

    When Boris Johnson came back from the EU with his re-negotiated Brexit deal; which in reality was Theresa May’s deal with bells on, Farage predictably slammed the deal, saying that it was terrible and that the UK would be better off staying in the EU than accepting that deal.

    I reject Mr Farage’s comments. The deal is far from perfect, but it does allow the UK to leave the EU on clear terms, and there’s a lot there that can be tidied up at a later date, but we can do so from outside the tent so to speak.

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves a European Union Summit at European Union Headquarters in Brussels on October 18, 2019.
    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves a European Union Summit at European Union Headquarters in Brussels on October 18, 2019.

    Sputnik: How do you think the general election in December will pan out?

    Marcus Stead: There’s also a problem on the remain side with first past the post. This is particularly an issue in the seventy-three constituencies in London, which is a strong remain city and predominantly a Labour city. A lot gets talked about how devolution has changed voting habits in Scotland and indeed it has, but London; which also has devolved institutions of its own, thinks, votes and behaves very differently to the rest of the country.

    A lot of remain supporting Londoners may feel very uncomfortable with various aspects of Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto, such as the four day working week, which might sound very nice but in reality it means four day’s wages rather than five, and that’s not great if you look at the living costs in London, which are astronomical.

    Labour’s policy on Brexit is to re-negotiate a new deal, to put it to a referendum and then campaign for the people to vote against the deal that they’ve just negotiated and that’s baffling. With that in mind; in places like London the main vote could be split between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, allowing Brexit supporting candidate through the middle, so London is going to be a key battleground in this election as well, but we also know that election campaigns can and do go very badly wrong.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    trade, Nigel Farage, Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Brexit deal, EU, Brexit, United Kingdom
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