The former prime minister said Mr Johnson’s confrontational approach will make him the ‘most isolated prime minister in peacetime history’
By Jaymi McCannDecember 6, 2020 1:04 pmUpdated December 6, 2020 1:10 pmGordon Brown warned of an impending crisis (Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire)
The former prime minister said Mr Johnson’s confrontational approach will make him the “most isolated prime minister in peacetime history” in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
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Negotiations between British and EU negotiators are set to resume today in Brussels in an attempt to secure a post-Brexit trade deal, with just days left to ink an agreement in time for it to pass by the end of the year.nullADVERTISINGnullnull
After months of circling round the same issues, the two sides have warned said “significant differences” remained over fisheries, the “level playing field” rules on fair competition and the enforcement mechanism for any deal.
Warning of “huge international implications” if no agreement is reached, Mr Brown said: “We would be in an economic war with Europe that would cost us very dearly.
“Food, drugs and everything else would find it difficult to get into the country without tariffs and without holdups.
“But we’d also be in an economic war with America because there’d be no chance of a trade treaty with America.https://e729665655217f7abedf8810bde7804f.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html
“So Boris Johnson is going to end up as the most isolated Prime Minister in peacetime history, with no friends around the world.Brown said Boris Johnson is going to end up as the most isolated Prime Minister in peacetime history (Photo: Getty)
“Because he has simply chosen a path of confrontation when everybody knows that it’s in Britain’s economic interests – maybe not in the Brexiteers’ ideological interest – but it’s in Britain’s economic interest to get a deal and to get a deal now.”
Mr Brown said it would be up to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer whether to back any deal but suggested “most of the big questions” are likely to remain unanswered even if an agreement is reached, leading to “an unstable relationship” over the coming months and years.
He predicted that there will be a tariff-free trade deal without quotas but said the EU may insist upon sanctions and tariffs being imposed if the UK breached the “level playing field”.
“So you may have an unstable relationship over the next few months or even over the next few years because all they can get to in this negotiation is a minimalist deal, which leaves people very uncertain about the path of the economy”, Mr Brown said.
This weekend is seen as the crunch point if an agreement is to be reached before the current Brexit transition period comes to an end on 31 December.
If there is no agreement the UK will leave the European single market and customs union on 31 December and begin trading with the bloc on World Trade Organisation terms, with the imposition of tariffs and quotas.null
Mr Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said in a joint statement following their phone call that they were instructing their chief negotiators to meet again in Brussels on Sunday.
The statement said: “In a phone call today on the on-going negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom, we welcomed the fact that progress has been achieved in many areas.
“Nevertheless, significant differences remain on three critical issues: level playing field, governance and fisheries. Both sides underlined that no agreement is feasible if these issues are not resolved.
“Whilst recognising the seriousness of these differences, we agreed that a further effort should be undertaken by our negotiating teams to assess whether they can be resolved.
“We are therefore instructing our chief negotiators to reconvene tomorrow in Brussels.
“We will speak again on Monday evening.”
Additional reporting from Press Association.https://e729665655217f7abedf8810bde7804f.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html