'Both sides must move' to strike Brexit deal, warns Select Committee chair

12 December 2020, 10:45

By Seán Hickey

The Brexit Select Committee chair believes the Government are behaving irresponsibly in Brexit talks, but both sides must compromise.

"The consequences of no-deal on top of Covid, on top of the changes that are coming in January anyway...really do not bear thinking about." Said Hilary Benn MP, chair of the Brexit Select Committee.

He told Andrew Castle: "I really don't know how any responsible government could inflict that on the nation," in response to the apparent admission that no-deal is inevitable.

Andrew wondered "who's at fault" for the current impasse, when Mr Benn insisted that "both sides are going to have to move," to strike a deal.

"You have to meet somewhere in the middle and that involves compromise," he reminded those on both sides of the debate.

Mr Benn added that "Boris Johnson himself said it would be a 'failure of statecraft'" if a deal wasn't struck, and the chance of no-deal was "infinitesimally small," and the situation now suggests the PM was wrong.

He was sure to note that "a compromise can be found," in the final moments of negotiations.

On the level playing field, the Labour MP insisted that the UK should have nothing to worry about. Andrew expressed that uncertainty around whether the EU can impose "lightning tariffs" on the UK is where public fear lies.

The Chair of the Brexit Select Committee urged both sides of Brexit talks to reach a compromise
The Chair of the Brexit Select Committee urged both sides of Brexit talks to reach a compromise. Picture: PA

"The UK could do the same," Mr Benn clapped back, adding that "sensible people have got to find a way through this," rather than worrying about the consequences.

He suggested that the UK should accept the EU deal and do this for five years to see if it works and "to see if there's anything to worry about."

"That is the way forward."