Top-ex mandarin: Brexit Britain giving up a three-course meal for a bag of crisps

PUBLISHED: 09:16 27 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:17 27 February 2018

Possibly Nigel Farage's favourite crisps

$image.copyright

Britain leaving the European customs union to strike free trade deals with countries outside the EU is "giving up a three-course meal for the promise of a packet of crisps", a top ex-civil servant has said.

Sir Martin Donnelly, who left his role as permanent secretary to Liam Fox's Department of International Trade last year, said 60% of UK trade was either with the EU or the countries it had trade agreements with.

Any divergence from Brussels rules would deal a blow to British services which would not be compensated for through deals with nations like the US, he added.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "You're giving up a three-course meal, which is the depth and intensity of our trade relationships across the European Union and partners now, for the promise of a packet of crisps in the future if we manage to do trade deals outside the European Union which aren't going to compensate for what we're giving up.

"You just have to look at the arithmetic - it doesn't add up I'm afraid."

Meanwhile Boris Johnson dismissed concerns that leaving the customs union could lead to a hard Irish border by comparing travel between the Republic and Northern Ireland to driving from Camden to Islington in London.

The foreign secretary said: "We think that we can have very efficient facilitation systems to make sure that there's no need for a hard border, excessive checks at the frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

"There's no border between Islington or Camden and Westminster, there's no border between Camden and Westminster, but when I was mayor of London we anaesthetically and invisibly took hundreds of millions of pounds from the accounts of people travelling between those two boroughs [through the congestion charge] without any need for border checks whatever.

"It's a very relevant comparison because there's all sorts of scope for pre-booking, electronic checks, all sorts of things that you can do to obviate the need for a hard border to allow us to come out of the customs union, take back control of our trade policy and do trade deals."

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Support The New European's vital role as a voice for the 48%

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

  • Become a friend of The New European for a contribution of £48. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish)
  • Become a partner of The New European for a contribution of £240. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook
  • Become a patron of The New European for a contribution of £480. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook and an A3 print of The New European front cover of your choice, signed by Editor Matt Kelly

By proceeding, you agree to the New Europeans supporters club Terms & Conditions which can be found here.



Supporter Options

Mention Me in The New European



If Yes, Name to appear in The New European



Latest Articles

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Grassroots anti-Brexit campaigners are increasing the pressure on politicians ahead of a series of important votes this year. Here is a list of the events organised across Britain in the coming weeks and months.

Trending

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy