Monday 19 August 2019

UK 'will crash out of the EU without deal', says minister

There's 'no patience' left for UK politicians - D'Arcy

Pressure: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan at 10 Downing Street. Photo: Toby Melville/PA Wire
Pressure: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan at 10 Downing Street. Photo: Toby Melville/PA Wire
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The UK will crash out of the EU without a Brexit deal on October 31, a minister has said.

In a clear sign of the growing anxiety in Government circles, Michael D'Arcy said there is "no patience or generosity left" for British politicians.

'More blunt': Michael D'Arcy says he is not alone in his views. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM
'More blunt': Michael D'Arcy says he is not alone in his views. Photo: Damien Eagers / INM

"The British believe Europe won't allow them crash out," he told the Irish Independent.

"We've been hearing that from some ministers in the UK. But I just see that there's no patience or generosity left."

The minister's comments will heighten demands for the Government to reveal more details of its no-deal contingency plan. But Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe are both desperately trying to keep the Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop, alive.

Speaking in Belfast on Tuesday, Mr Varadkar said he would not be "fatalistic" about the situation and expressed a hope a deal can still be done.

However, Mr D'Arcy believes "the deal will be done after October 31".

He said the UK will not get a free trade deal with the EU until issues around the Irish Border, citizens' rights and the divorce bill are resolved.

"I think the British have convinced themselves it [a disorderly Brexit] is not a bad place to go. It's not a good thing for anybody, that's what the Taoiseach has been saying," Mr D'Arcy said.

However, his prediction of a crash-out Brexit on October 31 will raise pressure on the Government to release more details of its contingency plans.

Ministers have previously been warned about going off-script on Brexit but privately a growing number now see no way of avoiding a no-deal scenario.

Mr D'Arcy initially gave his pessimistic forecast to the news agency Reuters which carried his comments across Europe. When contacted by this newspaper, he said his view is "not out of sync with the Taoiseach, I'm just being a bit more blunt about it".

One Cabinet minister concurred: "It's hard to believe but it's only going one direction since Johnson came in. It's hard to see how it can be rescued at this stage."

A Government spokesman said the Taoiseach remains of the view that a no-deal scenario can be avoided.

While the UK government is still refusing to engage with the EU unless the backstop is scrapped, newly appointed Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was in Washington yesterday discussing a transatlantic trade deal. After a meeting with President Donald Trump, Mr Raab said: "He was effusive in his warmth for the United Kingdom - it was amazing to hear an American president talk about our country in such warm terms."

Other politicians in positions of power, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, have warned they will block a trade deal if the UK does anything that has a negative impact on the Good Friday Agreement.

A disorderly Brexit will require Ireland to implement some form of checks on animal and food products crossing the Border from the North.

Talks are ongoing with the European Commission as to how Ireland will protect the EU single market.

The introduction of World Trade Organisation tariffs will also cause major problems for businesses and consumers. The Department of Business is now offering businesses up to €60,000 each to train staff on filing customs returns.

Ireland faces a 12-fold rise in the number of import and export declarations made by local companies in the event of a no-deal British exit. A new scheme will now see firms given €6,000 per trainee - up to a maximum of 10 per company - as well as a free training programme for all eligible customs agents, intermediaries and affected businesses as there will not be enough agents to help firms file returns if Britain crashes out.

Irish Independent

Also in Business