No-deal Brexit will be more damaging to economy than Covid, warns ex-Chancellor

28 November 2020, 12:31

By Seán Hickey

The former Chancellor insisted that a no-deal Brexit will be worse for the economy than the aftermath of the pandemic.

Following Chancellor Rishi Sunak's spending review, eyebrows were raised when Brexit was not mentioned in the Commons.

Matt Frei asked former Chancellor Lord Ken Clarke, whether he agreed with the Governor of the Bank of England that "if we get a no-deal Brexit it's going to be more detrimental to the economy than Covid?" Lord Clarke warned that this is almost certain.

"I can't believe that any sane person on either side of the channel wants a no-deal Brexit," he added.

"We are going to have to face up to the fact that we do have to try to produce a serious arrangement which minimises the damage that the disruption to trade that'll be caused."

Lord Clarke sympathised with business owners in limbo amid hectic Brexit trade negotiations, telling Matt that "they don't even know what they have to get ready for yet."

Read More: Nick Ferrari confronts Sunak on NHS pay freeze during Covid

Lord Ken Clarke warned that the Government must get a trade deal with the EU
Lord Ken Clarke warned that the Government must get a trade deal with the EU. Picture: PA

He warned that "it will be a disaster if by mistake the two sets of negotiators don't come up with a deal at all."

Matt wondered what he would do if he was advising the Prime Minister at this time. Lord Clarke called on Boris Johnson to "make the necessary negotiation compromises" so the economy can be spared.

"Both sides will suffer, but we'll suffer more with no-deal," he warned.

Under no circumstances must the UK opt for "WTO rules" for trading with the EU, Lord Clarke added, telling Matt that it will mean "tariffs and quotas on a lot of our exports to our most important market."

The former Chancellor reminded Matt that "we're economic crisis already," and Government must work so not to make the situation worse.