Alok Sharma struggles to explain difference between No Deal and Australia style deal

19 October 2020, 10:35 | Updated: 19 October 2020, 11:57

By Matt Drake

Alok Sharma was caught out by Nick Ferrari on Call the Cabinet this morning when he described the difference between a No Deal Brexit and an Australia-style deal as "semantics."

The Business Secretary appeared on LBC this morning and was asked by a caller how small businesses should prepare for No Deal.

Mr Sharma replied: "The Prime Minister has been very clear on this that we are preparing to leave on Australia terms, which is WTO plus additional measures.

"But this is up to the EU. We have always been very clear that we would like to leave on a Canadian-style deal trade deal but it was clear on Thursday that wasn't the direction it was going."

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Nick Ferrari then pressed the minister, asking him to explain the difference between an Australian deal and a No Deal.

Mr Sharma said the UK has already got a deal as part of the Withdrawal Agreement, but Mr Ferrari pressed again, asking what the deal would look like "going forward".

The business Secretary said: "Well, the Australian deal is the deal where you are working with countries on a WTO basis."

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"So it's a No Deal?" said Mr Ferrari, "I don't see any distinction between an Australian deal and a No Deal".

The Minister eventually replied: "It's a question of semantics at the end of the day."

Nick Ferrari replied: "It's the future of this nation, and it's relying on semantics."

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