The report comes just 3 days before the British prime minister’s deadline for a deal with the EU, with the UK expected to leave on WTO rules, if both sides fail to agree terms. With more on this story, Sputnik spoke to analyst Bob Lister.
Sputnik: How significant is this report and is this the deal that Brexiteers want?
Bob Lister: I hardly think the deal is rushed - it's taken years and years and years. It's been the bullying of [Michel] Barnier and now [Emmanuel] Macron who are muddying the waters. Macron is insistent that the French fishermen still have rights to fish in our waters, which clearly is totally against what the Brexit ideals were. We have to stand firm. There's a summit on Thursday and I think possibly they will decide on Thursday that if Barnier and Macron still carry on trying to bully the UK, we'll just leave no deal.
Sputnik: With Boris Johnson's Brexit deadline drawing closer, will the EU agree to a deal before October 15th?
Bob Lister: If you think about it, there is a £100 million trade deficit between the EU and the UK. Germany, for instance, ship a minimum of 20% of their cars to the UK. There's the wine, there's the cheese... the industrialists won't let the EU risk that trade because if we put some tariffs on their trade, to us, it would be catastrophic to the industrialists in Germany and nobody would gain. So it's in their interest to keep a free trade agreement between us and them and vice versa, and have no restrictions whatsoever on movement of goods because they have far more lorries coming from the EU, and container ships, and car transporters coming to the UK. The people in the EU have far, far more to lose, and I think they will need to strike a deal with us. We have the upper hand. I think they're going to have to back down. I sincerely hope that on Thursday’s summit, that if a deal is not lined out, we just leave. We've signed up this this deal with Japan, there will be other deals that will be coming forward. We don't need the EU - our trade with them is insignificant compared with the rest of the world.
Sputnik: If this deal represents the best efforts, after 4 years of negotiations, is the UK better off just walking out on WTO rules with a no deal? Was that Boris's plan all along?
Bob Lister: I think he genuinely wanted to get a deal but you can't keep on threatening and bullying the UK. It's just not the way that we allow things to go on and that's what Barnier has done all along. I think if others had been in the negotiating position, we might have had a better deal, but Barnier has just been inflexible, totally inflexible all the time. We know that people like [Tony] Blair and [John] Major, people that have destroyed the UK in many words, have worked with the EU in trying to get Brexit stopped. These people are hated even more I think in the UK now. People realise what Major did with Maastricht and what Blair did allowing unfettered access for people into the UK. I just think that we've had enough and we need to move on. Businesses need to know what they're doing, how they're going to do it. If they are trading with the EU, they need to know what's going to happen. So, we just need to move on.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.