Brexiteer MP mocked for refusing to say ‘banned’ Brexit term

PUBLISHED: 16:26 27 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:50 27 February 2020

Theresa Villiers is interviewed by BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Emma Barnett. Photograph: BBC/LBC.

Theresa Villiers is interviewed by BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Emma Barnett. Photograph: BBC/LBC.

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Tory Brexiteer Theresa Villiers left a radio host in disbelief after she refused to use a Brexit phrase supposedly banned by Downing Street.

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Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live host Emma Barnett the former cabinet minister referred to a no deal exit from the EU as an "Australian type trading relationship".

When this was pointed out to Barnett by a listener she quizzed the Chipping Barnet MP why this was the case.

Villiers said: "The reference to an Australia type trading relationship with the European Union does indeed reflect not having a free trade agreement and trading on WTO terms is something we do with many of our trading partners very successfully."

In the video Barnett is seen shaking her head and looking at the camera bemused by what she is hearing.

Despite being fired by Boris Johnson a week before, the former minister appeared to stay on message with a leaked memo which suggested Downing Street has banned a number of terms including 'deal' and 'no deal'.

"The outcome is we have a choice between a free trade agreement or leaving the European Union based on the exit treaty we already have," Villiers added.

"I just think terminologically it's not accurate to say there is no deal as there has been a deal which has been agreed which covers certain aspect of our relationship with European Union and the terms in which we leave, it just doesn't cover trade.

"The phrase became loaded with this idea of a cliff edge and I just think the risks and the potential issues are not nearly as great as they were in the event we left the European Union without an exit treaty."

Barnett continued to press the MP who remained adamant that a deal had been sort, just that it did not cover trade.

"There is a deal," Villers said, "an exit treaty which covers citizen's rights and the divorce payments.

"It is not the same as a scenario where leaving at the end of the year without a trade agreement would not lead to the same level of dislocation which would have been the case if we had left without an exit treaty."

Despite not saying no deal, Villiers ended the interview by giving a Brexit warning.

She said: "[Britain] does need to prepare for the eventually of leaving without a trade agreement."

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