Former Brexit minister: 'Brexit won't be armageddon'

Suella Braverman appears on Sky News. Photograph: Sky.

Suella Braverman appears on Sky News. Photograph: Sky.

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Former Brexit minister Suella Braverman has claimed that Britain crashing out of the EU on March 29th would not be "armageddon".

Braverman, who quit as Brexit minister in November in protest at Theresa May’s deal, appeared to set the bar very low by her suggestions about what might happen if we leave the EU without a deal.

Angered by the French president Emmanuel Macron’s latest comments about Brexiteer politicians, the former Brexit minister said that it was more reason for the country to move towards no-deal and to walk away from the negotiating table.

She said: “It would completely change the tone of a speech from Macron if that would happen”.

It prompted Sky News’ Faisal Islam to question on what sort of speech the French president would deliver in support of the Brexiteers if there was a no-deal Brexit.

He said: “This is very interesting - say we go with no-deal, how do you think the Macron, the French president’s speech would change?”

But Braverman quickly backed away from suggesting what he might say, responding: “I think it’s very difficult for me to speak!”

Asked further about no-deal Brexit, she said: “I don’t think we would see the armageddon that’s been predicted.

Islam pointed out that it was “quite a low bar” before suggesting that it could be “short of armageddon” but still “not particularly pretty”.

He said if these problems start to occur it will not help the Brexiteers’ case for pursuing a hard Brexit.

She responded: “I am not saying a WTO Brexit would be without challenge, but those challenges are surmountable. We have already put in place extensive plans and contingency measures - so have the EU and other member states - to minimise any disruption.

“At Dover, Operation Brock is there to accommodate any potential queues, but it is very possible that they might not even materialise, because of arrangements.

“At the end of the day, French and German importers will want to get their goods to purchasers in the UK. There may be political postulating but businesses and jobs will matter more than a speech by Emmanuel Macron.”

It is a far cry from Braverman’s enthusiasm for a no-deal Brexit last year on Question Time.

At the time she said: “It is within our mutual interest for both the UK and the EU to strike a tariff agreement on goods.

“The council president Donald Tusk has said that very thing that he wants a zero-tariff arrangement.

“When we leave the EU we will be the single largest market for the EU.”

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