James O’Brien says government ministers are ‘backtracking’ on Brexit pledges

PUBLISHED: 17:45 05 June 2020 | UPDATED: 17:45 05 June 2020

James O'Brien on LBC radio; LBC

James O'Brien on LBC radio; LBC

Archant

A radio presenter has claimed that government ministers are ‘backtracking’ on Brexit pledges, warning more changes are to come.

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LBC Radio’s James O’Brien said he expected hardened Brexit supporters to blame chief EU negotiator, Michel Barnier, for the recent deadlock.

“Your hardcore Brexiteer, the person who thinks Boris Johnson is doing a great job on the coronavirus, is going to try and portray Barnier here as having some sort of hissy fit.

“He is simply describing frustration at the fact that not only has there been no progress on the major points of negotiation but also... [that] Boris Johnson put himself in handcuffs in December, with the general election result. The political declaration makes promises to the European Union that would break promises he made to British people.”

He then said that people were rallying behind the government despite not “understanding” how World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules would impact them.

“Expect to see people pretending they understand what World Trade Organisation rules mean and that they welcome them. Obviously don’t, whatever you do, mention that the global head of Nissan said two days ago that if we come out on WTO terms Nissan in the UK becomes unsustainable,” he said.

“Rather than admit reality or admit the truth, there will be plenty of people pretending this is what they wanted all along”.

O’Brien envisaged the UK exiting negotiations with no deal or a revoking of Brexit all together.

He said: “I think the most powerful prediction I made... was that we were going to end up with no Brexit or No-Deal simply because there is no negotiable Brexit that would keep any of the people that voted for it happy.

“We’ve already seen backtracking. We’ve seen this week Boris Johnson begging EU citizens to come back here to work.”

He went on to point out the government’s U-turn on allowing chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef into the UK from the US, which was confirmed by the prime minister’s spokesman.

He played footage of Michael Gove calling the idea “wrong” and former environment minister Theresa Villiers labelling it “illegal”.

“Turns out we will. That was confirmed by the government yesterday, the same government who confirmed earlier that there would be border posts in Northern Ireland - something else they swore blind would never happen.

Pondering on how the talks will conclude, he said: “If I had to put money on it, I probably will go with no deal.”

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