UK will be seen as a 'huge failure' if Brexit deal is not struck, warns Lord Ricketts

7 December 2020, 20:10

By Fiona Jones

The UK will be seen as a "huge failure" if a Brexit deal is not struck, warns Lord Peter Ricketts as trade talks with the EU enter their final days.

MPs are debating the UK Internal Market Bill which has had controversial clauses reinserted ahead of a crunch vote at around 9pm this evening.

The Brexit legislation returned to the Commons at around 5:45pm to discuss the contentious conditions previously removed by the House of Lords that would allow Britain to break international law by overriding parts of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Meanwhile, talks between the UK and the European Union enter their final days; with divergences still remaining between the two sides the Prime Minister plans to head to Brussels for in person negotiations with EU chief Ursula von der Leyen.

Cross-bench peer and former UK ambassador Lord Ricketts agreed with LBC's Iain Dale that if an agreement is not reached, this will be "the biggest failure of statecraft in decades."

Read more: Live: PM to go to Brussels for Brexit trade talks after call with EU chief

"These are fundamentally important relationships, this is our largest trading partner, it takes 45% of our exports," Lord Ricketts said, "but more than that, our security cooperation depends on police having good connectivity, energy supplies, the lives of a lot of people, travel between the EU and the UK. All of that depends on there being a degree of mutual agreement."

He continued that while we may only reach a "thin deal", with a dossier containing around 800 pages, it "gives us a degree of certainty about the future.

"If we don't get that we're pitchforked into the absolutely uncharted territory with just a few days to prepare."

Lord Ricketts gave a dire warning about the UK's reputation on the international stage if an agreement is not reached.

"It's going to be seen as a huge failure," he said, "the UK is presenting itself now outside the EU as a global leader in multilateralism, if we can't even with the EU come to a common agreement on the trading relationship, it doesn't bode well for the climate talks or the G7 Summit.

"Both sides have an awful lot riding on this, it's probably even more important for the UK to get some kind of a deal as a platform for going forward."