News Analysis: Could a no-deal Brexit become reality?

Source: Xinhua| 2018-07-14 02:05:56|Editor: xuxin
Video PlayerClose

LONDON, July 13 (Xinhua) -- At least one major London newspaper has carried a feature guiding its readers what to stockpile in the event of Britain crashing out of the European Union with no trade deal.

As an island country, Britain relies heavily on imported food which accounts for half of what the 65 million population eat.

A no-deal has fuelled fears that fresh and perishable foods could rot during delays at British sea ports and airports. It could lead to panic buying in the shops as people hedge their bets and stockpile tinned and long-life foods "just in case".

With growing concern about the fate of Prime Minister Theresa May's blueprint for a future trade deal with the EU, people from the proverbial "man in the street" to politicians and academics are posing the question, could a no-deal scenario become a reality.

Time is running out as Britain heads towards March 29, 2019, the day the country ceases to be an EU member.

Leave supporting Conservative MPs are planning a number of amendments to upcoming related legislation due to be debated in the coming weeks in the House of Commons.

With May heading a minority government, her Brexit plans have to be navigated through potentially stormy waters in parliament, and also clear hurdles not only with EU negotiators in Brussels but with the other 27 member states.

One-time adviser to former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, macroeconomist Patrick Minford, Professor of Applied Economics at Cardiff Business School, told Xinhua Friday: "I really cannot see the May proposals as viable at all. Either a No Deal or a retreat to a Canada plus deal seem only possible outcomes."

Minford cited fury among Conservative ranks as another issue for May.

Meanwhile, Professor Anthony Glees, Director of the Center for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham, warned the chaotic political situation in Britain could lead to further chaos.

Glees told Xinhua: "What my sources indicate (and I've just attended a meeting is that the Chequers agreement is really still a compromise between the Remain and Brexit wings of the Cabinet. It has allowed both to sign up to the deal, but as a practical proposal and workable plan it is fraught with problems."

He said Britain will have to decide either to leave the EU altogether or effectively stay in, extending the 'Common Rule Book' to services as well as goods, that is to the 80 percent of the economy and not just the 20 percent of it.

"Why give car manufacturing advantages over financial services, for example, added Glees. "This just does not make sense, is unfair and will lead big financial services to pull out of the UK, full stop. So if we do this deal on goods, it'll have to be on services as well."

What that will mean is that Britain either leaves, full stop, or stays in but without any ability to shape the rules, he said.

Glees added: "At the moment, despite this not being what most of the two sides want, the most likely outcome seems to be a hard and even a cliff-edge Brexit, what the Brexit ideologues would call a 'diamond Brexit'. That in turn would lead to twenty years of upheaval and a massive decline in the wealth and the standard of living of the people of the UK. Did the 52 percent vote for that? I don't think so."

Glees said when the newly published White Paper states that "exit from the EU will provide considerable additional opportunities for British business through potentially ambitious new trade arrangements and meaningful trade deals that play to the strengths of the UK economy', this is so clearly the best civil servants could do with what was in essence a totally bad job. These words mean nothing hard, they are basically platitudes.

Glees said he believes May now wants to take the best possible alternative available, a negotiation based on Chequers but which allows the EU27 to make significant inroads into it in return for further concessions on services, and call it 'Brexit'.

"She will try to explain that this is, in fact, what the 52 percent voted, nothing less than leaving the EU but nothing more either," said Glees.