Belfast Telegraph

Apprentice star Claude Littner: Brexit process has made UK look inept

The TV star said business leaders should have been consulted over negotiations.

Claude Littner is one of Lord Sugar’s advisers on The Apprentice (BBC)
Claude Littner is one of Lord Sugar’s advisers on The Apprentice (BBC)

By Laura Harding, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

The Brexit process has made the UK “look inept” and has done the negotiations “no favours”, according to The Apprentice star Claude Littner.

The entrepreneur and businessman, who is a key adviser to Lord Alan Sugar on the show, said leading figures in business should have been consulted in the deal making process.

Speaking to the PA news agency at a launch event for the show shortly after the Supreme Court ruled the Prime Minister’s advice to the Queen to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful, he said: “Everyone is affected because what affects business most is uncertainty.

“So whether you are a small businessman or actually running a large corporate, the differences may be great but everyone is worried about the future, employment, nobody knows where their employment is going to come from. There is a risk, people are uncertain.

“I think it’s a great shame the way everything has been conducted because it has made us look inept, the politicians look inept.

“Businessmen have not been able to be involved in the process, which I think would have been a great credit because they are the ones who do know how to negotiate and understand the art of deal-making, so I think we have done ourselves no favours in the way we have behaved throughout this whole process.”

Lord Sugar added: “There is a fear factor. Brexit is used as an excuse now a lot by people. ‘I don’t know, I can’t make a decision, oh I don’t know, I don’t think we are going to go ahead with that because we don’t know what is happening with Brexit’. I’ve heard that 100 times on real estate transactions.”

Meanwhile, Baroness Karren Brady, who also serves as an adviser to Lord Sugar on the show, said: “I think the whole country is just fed up with it, I think we have all got Brexit fatigue.

“We just want it over one way or another and we want to get on with running the country.

“Where does the opportunity come from when we come out of the European Union? Where are the jobs? Where is the innovation? Where is the investment? Where are our trade deals?

“Someone actually needs to focus on running the country and life after Brexit, because one way or another it’s going to happen. I just hope it happens sooner rather than later so we can all get on.”

Asked if he might ever emulate former Apprentice US host and US President Donald Trump by entering Downing Street himself, the former Labour peer, who resigned from the party in 2015, told reporters: “The difference in this country is that you have to be a Member of Parliament first of all and voted to be leader of the party by the members, so there’s no chance.

“If your question is, would I ever take that position, absolutely not.”

Instead he envisions taking part in the show for at least another five years, saying: “We have got one more series at the moment, that I am contracted to for the record.

“It will be the 16th series, and the format owner is sitting over there and will be eagerly chasing after us I guess after the end of the 16th.

“I might do it to 20, 20 sounds a round figure.”

The new series will begin with 16 contestants being whisked to South Africa for a task that will see the teams offer vineyard and safari tours to tourists.

The Apprentice starts on BBC One on October 2 at 9pm.

PA

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