Minister finally concedes 'Australia-style deal' is a no-deal Brexit

Alok Sharma on LBC Radio

Alok Sharma on LBC Radio - Credit: Global

A minister has finally conceded that an "Australian-style deal" is a no-deal Brexit, after claiming it was a "question of semantics".

Business secretary Alok Sharma appeared on LBC to announce plans to prepare the UK for the "Australian-style deal" which will leave the UK without a trade deal with the European Union.

But questioned on what the difference was between the government's proposals and a no-deal Brexit, the minister finally let the cat out of the bag.

"We've always been very clear that we want to leave on a Canada-style trade deal, that is something the EU has with other friendly nations. It is pretty clear on Thursday that is not the direction it is going in."

Asked about the proposals for an Australia deal, Sharma said: "The Australia deal is the deal you have with countries where you're predominantly working on a WTO basis."

"So it's a no deal?" enquired presenter Nick Ferrari.

"Depends, you can use the phrase no-deal, but it's a deal," continued the minister.

"There is no difference, persuade me otherwise," said Ferrari.

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"Nick, it's a question of semantics at the end of the day" answered the business secretary.

"The whole future of this nation and it's resting on semantics. That's a bit worrying isn't it? Or is that just me?" replied the presenter.

Sharma's name trended on Twitter as people commented on the admission.

Labour MP Neil Coyle wrote: "The government thinks people won’t spot the failure to get the ‘oven-ready’ deal, or any deal at all. Ministers think people don’t realise how far away Australia is, or know that most of our trade is done with our immediate neighbours. The government thinks people are stupid."

"No Mr Sharma...it’s not a question of ‘semantics ‘...it’s a question of deliberate deception!" said Beverley Parker.

"It's the best thing to call it as the economy is going down under," quipped listener Simon Cowling.

"Alok Sharma did come across that he no idea what the difference was between WTO, the Canada deal and an Austrialian deal," noted Dan Tornbom.

Another simply asked: "Is this a trailer for the next season of The Thick of It?"

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