Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Perilous risks come with a no-deal Brexit

No one except the most committed Brexiteers believes leaving the EU without a deal is anything other than disastrous.
No one except the most committed Brexiteers believes leaving the EU without a deal is anything other than disastrous.

Editor's Viewpoint

No one except the most committed Brexiteers believes leaving the EU without a deal is anything other than disastrous.

Further evidence of the problems which would follow come in a report from the Department for the Economy.

Tariffs on trade with the EU, some sort of border controls, a complex and confusing administrative burden being heaped on small and micro businesses are among the issues highlighted. This is along with the fact that exports to the Republic accounted for £3.9bn in 2017, a not inconsiderable sum which could be jeopardised to some extent.

But this report is unlikely to cut much ice with the heavy hitters who are among the favourites to succeed Theresa May as Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister.

They are particularly bullish about leaving the EU by any means, even if that means with no deal in place. And while they continue to criticise Mrs May for failing to remove the backstop from the agreement signed with the EU, whoever succeeds her will face exactly the same problem.

Merely boasting that they can force the EU members to change their minds and abandon the Republic on this issue is simply wishful thinking, aimed more at convincing their fellow MPs that they are made of the right tough mettle to lead the party and the country out of Europe finally.

Where they all fall down is in coming up with any solution or alternative to the backstop.

It really is a case of the UK wanting to leave Europe but with no coherent plan on how to do it.

Meanwhile Northern Ireland businesses leaders, in the absence of a functioning administration at Stormont, are travelling to Brazil to spread the world that the province, contrary to appearances, is open for business and eager to attract inward investment.

The delegation is hoping to attract the World Chambers Congress to the province in 2023. That is the sort of positive forward planning, rather than bombast, which will be required when the UK leaves the EU. Undoubtedly there will be deals to be done around the world, but there will be stiff competition even if the Brexiteers would like to suggest that everyone globally is waiting with bated breath to make deals with the UK.

These are strange times in UK politics with no one sure of what will happen. One might as well read the tea leaves as listen to commentators on how events will pan out. Uncertainty is the only certainty.

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