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‘No deal’ remains a possibility despite Raab comments – Brexit expert

24 August 2018

A leading Brexit researcher has questioned Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab’s suggestion that a no-deal Brexit is ‘unlikely’ as the government publishes its first impact studies.

Professor Alex de Ruyter (pictured), director of Birmingham City University’s Centre for Brexit Studies, said “It was interesting to hear Dominic Raab describe a no-deal scenario as ‘unlikely’ given the extremely tight timescales and the fact that other ministers have stated it is an entirely possible outcome.

“We’ve seen this kind of response to the negotiations before, particularly when Liam Fox claimed a trade deal with the European Union should be the ‘easiest in human history’. So close to the deadline for an agreement it would perhaps be more prudent to face up to the fact that at this stage no-deal really is a possibility.

“Raab also seemed confident on the issue of medicine, which we know is one of the major worries about a no-deal outcome. It will be interesting to see the finer detail which is contained in the papers, but this is going to be one of the biggest hurdles the government needs to get over and one of the areas which will shape public mood and confidence.

Professor de Ruyter also voiced his concerns that impact reports were being published so long after the referendum and so close to the deadline for a withdrawal agreement.

“The striking thing is that these publications have not come in June 2016 when the public were preparing to vote in the referendum, nor in March 2017 when Article 50 was activated, but in August 2018, just seven months before Britain is due to exit the EU.

“As things stand we are three months away from the EU’s final deadline for a withdrawal agreement to be put in place. Yet only now have documents been published explaining what impact no-deal actually could have on citizens and major business sectors in the UK. The need for these studies cannot be overstated.”

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