Minister claims UK will pay 'higher price' for poor deal than no-deal Brexit

Oliver Dowden in the House of Commons

Oliver Dowden in the House of Commons - Credit: Parliament Live

The culture secretary said the UK would pay a higher price if it negotiates a poor Brexit deal with the EU “in the longer run” than if it reaches no deal at all.

Asked by Times Radio about predictions the economic impact of no-deal would be worse than Covid-19, Oliver Dowden said: “It would clearly be preferable for us to have a Canada-style free trade relationship, that is why we are continuing to push for it even at this very late hour.

“That’s not to say we couldn’t survive and ultimately thrive with an Australian style WTO, but we’ve made no bones about the fact that first of all the free trade relationship would be better.”

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He said if the UK accepted regulatory alignment “in the longer run we would actually pay a real price for that”.

“One of the benefits of leaving the EU is that we do have the freedom to set our own rules and regulations, I think we should resist the short-term temptation to concede on this when we could pay a longer-term price for doing so.”

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Dowden rejected the idea the UK should have extended the transition period, saying “you’ve got to end the uncertainty and give people clarity about their future trading relationship”.

“A further extension is just kicking the can down the alley.”

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