No deal Brexit 'bad for Britain and the West', former Australian PM tells LBC

13 December 2020, 11:18 | Updated: 13 December 2020, 11:35

By Joe Cook

Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has told LBC’s Swarbrick on Sunday a No Deal Brexit would be “bad for Britain, bad for Europe and bad for the West”.

Speaking to LBC as negotiations between the UK and Europe go down to the wire, Mr Rudd said his personal view is that “Brexit is madness”.

“We want Britain to succeed, that is the Australian view of the United Kingdom,” he told Tom Swarbrick.

“My long standing view is that Brexit is madness, period, from a British perspective. Europe is much stronger by having Britain in it and Britain is much stronger for being in Europe.

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“But now that you have decided to have a divorce, the terms of this divorce, I firmly believe would be best executed on the basis of a negotiated deal.

“An untidy divorce is bad for Britain, bad for Europe and bad for the West.”

Read more: PM will fail on election promise if there is No Deal, Starmer says

The comments come after the UK government announced they are ramping up a £4 billion operation to prepare Britain for a No Deal.

Mr Johnson will reportedly lead a new 'super-committee' as part of an operation to protect Britain’s supply chain and fishing waters.

The Conservatives have faced criticism for attempting to sell a No Deal Brexit positively as an “Australian deal”.

In October, Business Secretary Alok Sharma told LBC: "The prime minister has been very clear on this that we are preparing to leave on Australia terms, which is WTO plus additional measures.”

He later conceded it is “a question of semantics”, adding: "Well, the Australian deal is the deal where you are working with countries on a WTO basis."

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On Sunday, former PM Kevin Rudd told LBC that Australia is itself working to negotiate a trading arrangement with the EU, due to disadvantages of trading on WTO rules.

“The disadvantages of the current, let’s call it WTO trading relationship we have with Brussels is why Australia for the last several years has been trying to negotiate its own free trade agreement with Brussels,” he explained.

“That process is underway and that is because there are impediments to our own trading interests under the existing arrangement.”