Otago Daily Times
Britain prepared for nodeal Brexit: Gove
LONDON: Michael Gove, the minister handling Brexit divorce issues for Britain, said yesterday the UK was ‘‘increasingly well prepared’’ for a nodeal Brexit even as businesses urged Britain and the European Union to find a compromise over trade terms.
A tumultuous ‘‘no deal’’ finale to the United Kingdom’s fiveyear Brexit crisis would sow chaos through the delicate supply chains that stretch across Britain, the EU and beyond — just as the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic worsens.
‘‘It is not my preferred destination,’’ Gove said in an opinion piece in the Sunday Times newspaper.
‘‘But if the choice is between arrangements that tie our hands indefinitely, or where we can shape our own future, then that’s no choice at all and leaving on Australian terms is an outcome for which we are increasingly well prepared.’’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Saturday Britain should get ready for a deal with the European Union similar to the one Australia has, ‘‘based on simple principles of global free trade.’’
A socalled ‘‘Australia deal’’ means the United Kingdom would trade on World Trade Organization terms: for a country without an EU trade agreement, like Australia, tariffs would be imposed under WTO rules, likely to cause significant price rises.
Johnson’s critics say an Australianstyle deal is simply code for no deal at all with Britain’s largest export market.
More than 70 British business groups representing over 7 million workers made a lastditch attempt yesterday to persuade politicians to get back to the negotiating table this week and strike a Brexit deal.
The groups ranged from the Confederation of British Industry, TheCityUK and techUK to the National Farmers’ Union, British Retail Consortium and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.