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UK could be left in an economic mess for 10 years after Brexit, warns expert

By Lisa Smyth

Brexit could leave the UK in an economic mess which may take up to a decade to bring under control, a political expert has said.

Dr Lee McGowan took part in an event last night hosted by the SDLP South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell, aimed at answering questions about Brexit.

He said: "We've entered uncharted territory and we don't know exactly where we're headed."

Dr McGowan, who is a senior lecturer in the school of politics, international studies and philosophy at Queen's University, was one of a number of panellists invited to take part in the question and answer session.

Speaking ahead of the event, he said: "The big issue is whether the UK gets access to the single market.

"If they can do that then it should be okay but if that doesn't happen then there will be issues.

"The thing is that it will be up to the EU member states to discuss and decide the terms and then they will come to the UK with their offer.

"It will then be up to the UK to decide whether to accept those terms and this raises the question as to whether there will be another referendum.

"Essentially, other economic negotiations can't take place until we know exactly what the UK is doing regarding the single market."

Dr McGowan, who has a special interest in EU politics, the relationship between Northern Ireland and the EU and politics of the extreme right, said if the UK leaves the single EU market it will take between five and 10 years to negotiate trade deals.

"Even if we remain in the single market we have no say over how it is run," he said.

"We won't actually be around the table when it comes to future decision making so actually the UK will have less control."

Leaving the EU will also have ramifications for agriculture and farming in Northern Ireland, as they will pass back to the control of Stormont as oppose to Westminster, said Dr McGowan.

He stressed that it is important adequate funds are released to enable officials to cope.

A new Prime Minister should also be put in place as quickly as possible so it becomes clear in which direction the UK is going to take.

Belfast Telegraph