Boris Johnson has however reiterated that he and his team are prepared to walk away without a formal arrangement in place, should the EU grant too few concessions.
But is the UK adequately prepared for a potential no-deal Brexit? The Brexit Party’s Owen Reed gives his views on the matter.
Sputnik: Leading figures within the EU have claimed that Brussels will have the upper hand in the upcoming Brexit talks in recent days, do you agree with this argument?
Owen Reed: Of course it’s just posturing; we’ve got the upper hand! We have got a multibillion-pound trade deficit with the EU for a start, and the whole of the EU is scared that they are going to have a competitor, that’s all they are scared about.
They are not scared about the fact that we could do better, they are scared about the fact that they are going to have a competitor on the shores of Europe, and this means that any businesses which are developing things like 5G technologies will bring it to the UK, as opposed to Dublin or Frankfurt.
These businesses know that in the future and over the next five or ten years, the UK is going to be at the forefront of these technologies, whilst being out of Europe, so the EU is really scared of losing that business I think.
Sputnik: Should British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have simply pushed through a WTO rules Brexit on the 31st of January, rather than signing the withdrawal bill and enacting a transition period that will last until the end of 2020?
Owen Reed: I think that was by far the best option for us, and it does disappoint me that Boris Johnson has signed this withdrawal agreement, however, I think the main thing for us now is to focus on changing the political declaration.
Over the last few weeks; Boris Johnson and the government ministers have all shown signs that they are not going to follow the political declaration, if we are going to follow that then we are going to diverge when it comes to regulations and things like that, and the political declaration says that we are going to have a level playing field, so it’s got to be one way or the other.
If you follow the political declaration route; then there is no point in leaving the EU, however, if they diverge from that like they say they are going to, then it’s actually worthwhile.
Sputnik: Will the UK be affected by a lack of access to EU produce and low skilled labour after Brexit?
Owen Reed: I don’t necessarily think we can produce the right amount of food for ourselves, we do definitely depend on other nations, however; we have the whole wide world out there, all waiting to trade with us, there are over twelve thousand tariffs that we have to charge on non-EU goods, and a lot of them are food products.
One of the things we can do when we leave is start eliminating those tariffs, making food from the rest of the world cheaper, which brings down the prices in shops, and also gives us stronger food security. A lot of people are also complaining about things like chlorinated chicken, but they don’t have a problem with drinking chlorinated water, eating salad washed with chlorinated water, or jumping into a swimming pool filled with chlorine, so it’s just ridiculous.
It’s quite clear that net migration needs to be reduced. There’s a huge strain on hospital places, school places, and housing; successive governments over the last forty years have not planned for this rise in population that we’ve seen, and one of the biggest factors in that is migration.
We’re accepting around half a million people a year, but how can we do that when we already have a population of sixty-seven million, plus we’ve got people growing older and an ageing population, and we’re having more kids of our own than ever before.
We really do need to think about school places and housing, and one of the best ways we can address this issue is by reducing migration for a while, and then we can start to build up our resources again.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.