Hilary Benn: It would be inexplicable if a Brexit deal isn't reached

3 December 2020, 20:09

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Hilary Benn the Chair of the Future Relationship with the EU Select Committee has told LBC time is rapidly running out to secure a post-Brexit trade deal.

With talks on a post-Brexit trade deal have suffered a blow, with the UK accusing the European Union of making fresh demands at the 11th hour, LBC spoke to Mr Benn over what the future holds.

Hopes of an imminent deal appear to be fading after Thursday's negotiations in London between the teams led by Lord Frost and the EU's Michel Barnier.

A senior UK Government source said: "At the 11th hour, the EU is bringing new elements into the negotiation.

"A breakthrough is still possible in the next few days but that prospect is receding."

Mr Benn told LBC's Iain Dale it was "pretty clear that we're getting to the end of the process."

Telling LBC it was getting towards the "end of the process," the MP said he could speculate, but a deal was down to the people in the room.

"It would be inexplicable, as I have said to you before if they fail to reach a deal," he told LBC.

When questioned by Iain if the failure to reach a deal between the two sides would be the "biggest failure of statecraft in recent memory," the MP agreed.

He said a "great deal" rides on the UK securing a trade deal with the European Union.

"It is in nobody's interest that there is no-deal," Mr Benn said, adding that "both sides have to compromise" on a deal.

The Government will ask MPs to reinstate controversial legislation giving ministers the power to break international law by ignoring provisions in the Withdrawal Agreement relating to Northern Ireland.

MPs will vote on the UK Internal Market Bill on Monday, potentially throwing the talks on a UK-European Union trade deal into deep crisis unless an agreement can be reached by then.

The EU has already taken the first steps in a legal action over the legislation.

The Government will also introduce the Taxation (Post-Transition Period) Bill, which reportedly includes measures to override parts of the divorce deal struck by the Prime Minister and the EU in 2019.

MPs will be asked to reinsert the controversial Northern Ireland provisions into the UK Internal Market Bill after the Lords voted to remove them.