Communications expert slammed UK government's "worrying" behaviour over EU trade deal

6 February 2020, 15:52 | Updated: 7 February 2020, 11:55

The UK government's behaviour is "worrying" as they are trying to rush a deal through instead of communicating with British businesses, said this Communications expert who negotiated with the EU on behalf of Canada.

Andrew MacDougall worked with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper through five years of trade talks with the EU.

He critiqued the government's desire to rush through a trade deal and highlighted there could economic damage after a rapid trade agreement.

Even if the government trigger a one or two year extension and "take the time to do a negotiation in a bit more considered way you'd still be out well in advance of any return trip to the poll," said the former advisor.

Shelagh asked what it had been like negotiating with the European Union.

He said it was essential Boris Johnson went in with a clear mandate for these negotiations, and called the UK government's behaviour "worrying" because "the government keeps telling business here you'll have to accept that we're going to diverge... but business still has to know what that different relationship is.

"It's a big ask to make a business suck it up and take it but we still don't know what you're going to take."

Mr MacDougall emphasised trade negotiations take a lot of time, but with the UK government, there's been such a long period of "hyper-partisan politics about this that the imperative has always been short term."

"The EU is structured very much to be a frustrating thing to negotiate against," he said, revealing the issues Canada had faced when attempting to finalise a deal.

He emphasised the Prime Minister has to get the UK on board for this deal to work.