An SNP politician has schooled Britain’s trade envoy about the UK’s prospect of becoming prosperous after Brexit.
Angus Brendan MacNeil, who chairs the Commons committee on trade that met on Wednesday, said the UK faced years of “poverty” after it permanently leaves the EU on January 1.
Probing Tony Abbott, Britain’s newly-appointed trade envoy, on his opinions of Brexit, the newly-minted diplomat responded: “The problem with the EU is that it wasn’t just an economic area, it was also a political project. One of the fundamental divergences with Britain and the rest of the EU was because at least the French, the Germans, and the Italians saw it as a political project [while] the British saw it as an economic project.
“As time went on, it became more and more obvious there was an overriding political dimension to the whole thing which the people of Britain, in a decisive but narrow majority, chose to reject in June 2016.”
MacNeil shot back: “Indeed, these are the perceptions that are going to cost us five to seven per cent of GDP but we are now going down the rabbit hole.”
Abbott cut in: “We are, Mr Chairman, and thank you for the good-humoured way you’re approaching this but we can’t undo what’s been done, at least in the short or medium term. The best option now is to have a red-hot go into the big, wide, wonderful world that Britain is now going into as a fully sovereign, independent nation.”
“We’ll see what a bit of poverty does,” MacNeil quipped, adding “we all look forward to cleaning chimneys”.
Abbott was appointed as Britain international trade envoy earlier this year despite concerns over his “fitness” for the job following comments he made about women and same-sex marriage
Abbott, a former Australian prime minister who was ousted by his own party and voted out of parliament in 2019, will be in charge of assisting Britain barter new trade deals around the globe.