04:42 GMT21 October 2020
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    In a letter to its clients, the global investment bank Goldman Sachs has announced that the UK and the EU would likely agree on a post-Brexit trade deal by early November, whilst also warning that the risk of a breakdown in negotiations should not be ruled out.

    The news comes as talks between Britain and the EU are set to continue this week, after Boris Johnson and European Commission President, Ursula Von Der Leyen, approved a further month of negotiations. With more on this story, Sputnik spoke to Dr Connal Parr, a Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University.

    Sputnik: Just how likely is this prediction from Goldman Sachs and how does it compare to comments made by Boris Johnson over the weekend that Britain 'can live without a Brexit deal'?

    Dr Connal Parr: It's wishful thinking from Goldman Sachs. I think it's understandable and it's something which they, as an institution, would be trying to use their leverage almost in terms of entering the public domain to try and urge the UK Government towards that.

    But I have to say to you that I got the feeling that some weeks ago, the UK government decided that they didn't want to deal and that given their language, given some of the political behaviour that has been occurring in the last four to six weeks would suggest that it's been decided at quite a high level that a no-deal is the best option. Now, whether that's stuck to because this is government shifts and moves, is open to question.

    In this file photo dated Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, Brexit supporters hold British and US flags during a rally in London
    © AP Photo / Alberto Pezzali
    In this file photo dated Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, Brexit supporters hold British and US flags during a rally in London

    It could also be part of a negotiating ploy to use the threat of a no-deal, which is going to harm not just the UK economy, but also the Irish economy and the surrounding EU neighbouring states. But I got the sense some weeks ago that they've decided that they want to no deal.

    This is something which has come in remarkably in the times of the COVID pandemic. The decision has been that they can do without a deal if necessary and it's up to the EU to bend towards the UK is preference. If it doesn't do that, then a no-deal it is.

    Sputnik: What are the biggest areas that need to be addressed between Britain and the EU at this stage?

    Dr Connal Parr: It's very telling that again, some of the language that Boris Johnson has used in terms of he talks about how we want to kind of Canada situation; we want a Norway situation and if you don't do that, you have to come around to us. This leads to recently to the legal situation where the EU is initiating legal proceedings against the UK.

    Now, if they're doing that, it would suggest that these negotiations are not in a good position and certainly not in a good position towards getting an agreement around early November, as Goldman Sachs and others would hope.

    There had actually been in fairness some progress in certain areas and some things as I understand it had been agreed in terms of citizens' rights. The problem is that there are big parts of this and most especially in terms of the Internal Market Bell, which has been pushed through the House of Commons.

    This will be the thing which will sink any potential agreement in the sense of it's not a situation where the UK can have some progress on certain things and there are certain issues... nothing's agreed until everything's agreed and they can't have parts of it.

    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech during the party's online conference from the Danum Gallery, Library and Museum in Doncaster, Britain September 22, 2020
    © REUTERS / Stefan Rousseau/Pool
    Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech during the party's online conference from the Danum Gallery, Library and Museum in Doncaster, Britain September 22, 2020

    It all has to be sorted for the final trade and negotiating process. Meanwhile, by the way, polls for the first time has switched and some of your listeners will be aware that polls are showing that Keir Starmer's Labour Party has gone into a lead. This is when the Conservatives start getting concerned about their leader.

    Maybe that will change the situation partly? The Conservatives are always responding to this. Mr. Sunak will be an interesting person waiting in the wings for that.

    Sputnik: On the subject of a new Conservative leader; Rishi Sunak is obviously incredibly popular both in the party and across the country, but so too is the Home Secretary Priti Patel, for perhaps different reasons. Is it a question between Rishi Sunak or Priti Patel as the next leader of the party?

    Dr Connal Parr: My hunch would be that the Conservatives are quite aware of popularity in these things and they will normally, not always, they will normally go for the person who has the higher public standing and support which would be Rishi Sunak over Priti Patel. It's interesting, you know, he was regarded as one of the success stories of a very difficult time in recent political history with the COVID that we're still living through of course, with the generous follow the scheme, there was a sort of cross-party credit that was given to him for that.

    The Priti Patel choice I think over Sunak if they were looking into a new leader, would be the equivalent of Ian Duncan Smith as the leadership choice which is the Conservative Party speaking to itself and concerned only with their own narrow political niche rather than someone who's capable of appealing to the wider population.

    Tags:
    Priti Patel, Rishi Sunak, European Union, Brexit Plan, Brexit, brexit, no-Brexit, Brexit, United Kingdom
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