No Deal Brexit

It is now just over 11 weeks left before we leave the EU. We should have been a lot further with the negotiations that we are at the moment i.e. a deal agreed with the UK now in the process of negotiating a trade deal, this is what the Tories called a  ‘good deal’. But the bickering among the Tories that led us to a referendum almost sealed their fate in that they were never going to agree on what they considered was a good deal. Their bluster about how the EU would bend to their needs because BMW and Italian wines sell well in the UK. How they didn’t want Norway type deal or initially Canada plus, plus and they would be happy with a no deal as compared to a bad deal. The Tory nightmare may be upon us with a no deal and they are now in a panic, and so they should be.

So, what would happen in the event of a no deal? The issue is all about timing: we don’t have time to renegotiate another deal (by the government or parliament after the government lose a vote on their current proposal); at the moment we don’t have time to have another referendum and we don’t have time for a general election. We do have time to abandon Brexit and we can call for an extension but that would have to be agreed with 27 other nations in the EU – which political commentators feel is unlikely to happen.

If we end up with a no deal, we also lose the 21 months transition period. No deal will impact UK citizens (about 1.3 million) in Europe and the 3.7 million EU citizens in the UK. For example, France has said that they would require, who would then be UK citizens, to have visas or leave the country. No one really knows what will happen with a no deal.

The government has started to stockpile goods, especially medicines. Arrangements are being made to make more ferries available and lorry parks. There are 4.2 million lorries that go from the UK to the EU annually. Imagine the disruption even if checks per lorry take 10 to 15 minutes each. The proposed software solution is a long way away.

Currently, there is no tariff with the EU, but a no deal will mean we will have to accept WTO tariffs. The EU must apply the same tariffs to the UK as it does to the rest of the world. Those that will be hit the hardest will be agriculture with EU tariffs of 30 to 40 per cent. The UK will have to renegotiate trade deals with the EU and an average trade deal take at least 28 months. The UK will then also have to negotiate trade deals with the rest of the world.  The UK will no longer be part of the single aviation market but there seems to be an agreement to ensure our planes are not grounded. Moreover, we will have a hard border in Northern Ireland.

In short, we are unprepared for a no deal and no one voted to be poorer.

What of a second referendum? It is more likely to happen if Labour is behind it. Although the party is for a second referendum the labour party leader isn’t. The pressure for one, however, is growing because the British public now sees the impact of a cliff edge Brexit. Further, May who will lose the parliamentary vote on her Brexit deal, I believe, will result in parliamentarians to come under intense pressure to go back to the public and ask again whether we should go ahead with a no deal or stay in Europe. When and under what circumstances that happens will be intriguing.

* Tahir Maher is a member of the LDV editorial team and the Chair of the English Party

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in News and Op-eds.


  • Peter Martin 8th Jan '19 - 8:12am

    “We should have been a lot further with the negotiations that we are at the moment”

    Of course this is true. However the EU always insisted that a trade deal could only be negotiated once the other leaving details had been agreed.

    But just think what could have happened if the trade deal had been put first. Once that deal had been agreed then just how the Irish border might operate would be a clearer to understand. There probably wouldn’t be a need for a backstop. There wouldn’t be a problem of truck at Channel ports. There wouldn’t be any real dispute about the size of the leaving bill because we all know that, although £39 bn sounds a lot of money, it is neither here nor there in the total scheme of things.

    I may be being too cynical but my assessment is that EU strategy has to been to deliberately create chaos in the hope of keeping the UK inside the bloc.

    Mrs May has been hopeless. She should have insisted that trade talks should have taken precedence from day 1. Once a trade deal agreed, and it will be sooner or later, everything else falls into place. If nothing is agreed, we have the shambles we have now.

  • John Marriott 8th Jan '19 - 10:15am

    Oh dear, Mr Maher, we’ve been here before. The truth is that nobody really know what will happen if we crush out without a deal, except we will, at least for a number of years, be poorer in economic terms. Don’t hide behind another referendum. The figures might look good at the moment; but, once a campaign got going, things could easily change. Do we really want a rerun of 2016?

    Did you watch “Brexit:The Uncivil War” yesterday evening? I did and, although the author may have massaged reality to suit the dramatic side of the piece, some of his ‘ characters’ produced some telling lines. The one that sticks in my mind was the reaction from Remain boss, Tory backroom boy, Craig Oliver, to the events on the Thames. Referring to the Leave campaign he said; “Their campaign started 20 years ago – or more. The slow drip, drip of fear and hate, without anyone willing to counter it”. Add to that the emotional meltdown of the lady symbolising the left behind in the focus group and you can see why Brexit happened.

    Now, I know that we are dealing here with a drama documentary with the emphasis on the former; but surely it cannot be dismissed completely. That’s why I for one have not given up on the idea of some kind of a deal short of full membership being cobbled together in the end, which probably won’t be by 29 March. And then, and only then, could that ‘deal’, to give it legitimacy, be put to a ‘People’s Vote’ if it was thought to be necessary. We’ve just commemorated the end of WW1 – the war to end all wars. For WW1 read EU Referendum 2016. Do we really want this time to avoid another WW2, which, in its scope was arguably far worse than the first, because that is easily what another referendum that included EU membership could turn out to be?

  • David Becket 8th Jan '19 - 10:54am

    @ Petrr Martin
    “Mrs May has been hopeless”. Yes, but not because she did not insist trade talks start first, which she could not insist. We are leaving, if the EU want to have a framework in place first that is their prerogative, and it makes sense.
    She is hopeless because she wasted two years with two clowns leading the process. Boris (have our cake and eat it) and David (easiest negotiation ever). David Davies hardly bothered to turn up to any negotiations. Had she appointed people of intelligence and a work ethic (are there any left in the Tory party?), she could have got to a deal similar to the one she has after some nine months. That would have left over a year to start trade negotiations. Prevarication, in fighting, obfuscating, idleness and stupidity from the Tory party and an absence of opposition from Labour are the only reasons we are where we are now.

  • Peter Hirst 8th Jan '19 - 1:16pm

    Hopefully, no deal will lead to a general election within months. Then we will have manifestos to deal with and the possibility of a sea change in the parliamentary arithmetic. It would be a real opportunity if we can grasp it.

  • Peter Martin 8th Jan '19 - 1:27pm

    @ John Marriott,

    “Did you watch “Brexit:The Uncivil War” yesterday evening?”

    Yes I did. I also watched this which shows the real Dominic Cummings, rather than Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal. I’m not too sure I can see the same person. But maybe others disagree?

  • John Marriott 8th Jan '19 - 3:42pm

    @Peter Martin
    Thanks for posting the clip. There are other examples of Mr Cummings in action on the internet, notably his performance at a House of Commons Select Committee. I gather that he refuses to appear any more. I have been aware of him for some years, particularly as Gove’s guru at the Department of Education, where he certainly didn’t suffer fools gladly. He is obviously a very clever chap, who, to turn the famous Churchill quote about Attlee’s ‘modesty’ on its head, certainly knows it. In fact, you could argue that, in some people’s eyes, he could be classed as a very dangerous man.

    HOWEVER, in my piece I never mentioned him once, so why did you? Guilty conscience? No, Mr Martin, what interested me were remarks like the one attributed to Craig Oliver or that meltdown I mentioned. What that programme did was to examine in dramatic form how Leave beat Remain, no more and no less. What nobody on either side seemed to consider was what to do afterwards – a bit like the Lib Dems in a way.

    From your previous contributions it would appear that you support Brexit (apologies if I have misunderstood you). I’ve got no problem with that. By the way, I gather that Mrs Cummings thought that the author had got the essential Mr Cummings in his portrayal. As for Mr Cumberbatch, he’s an actor, or hadn’t you noticed that?

  • Peter Martin 8th Jan '19 - 4:37pm

    @John Marriott,

    I’m not sure why the sarcasm. But I know I can dish it out now and again, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much. 🙂

    But to persevere with my point I could see the real Jeremy Thorpe in Hugh Grant’s recent portrayal (and yes I know Hugh Grant is an actor too! ) but not quite the real Dominic Cummings in Benedict Cumberbatch’s. But maybe that’s just me?

    No guilty conscience I’m afraid. My wife supports Remain, but I know if you asked her about the program she’d quickly start to talk about Benedict C too. But I think that’s just ‘cos she fancies him!

  • Nom de Plume 8th Jan '19 - 4:56pm

    May’s agreement is the withdrawal agreement. Something will be “cobbled together” after that. Anyone’s guess as to what that will be. It is not an argument against a referendum at any point in the process. Unless one supports leaving without an agreement, in which case it is less cobbling and more chaos.

    Do David Raw and John Marriot support May’s agreement?

  • Arnold Kiel 8th Jan '19 - 6:07pm

    Peter Martin,

    “But just think what could have happened if the trade deal had been put first. ” Are you now also in the legend-building business? The UK is where she is because of a totally incompetent and divided Government. The separation agreement is trivial, and should have been done in 2.5 months, not years. It flows logically from the good Friday agreement, existing contracts, and common sense. All of this was inevitable, and should have been conceded even before the Art. 50 notification.

    Your Government is (and might soon prove to be) completely incapable to negotiate a trade agreement; they still do not understand the basics. The EU did indeed make a mistake by this sequencing: just asking the UK what she wants would have been sufficient to totally discredit this Govenment’s Brexit- (“plan, approach, strategy, objectives?”; none of these adult terms apply to this criminally idiotic gang of clowns).

    On Tahir’s topic: no-deal is the only solution this Government is up to; it would be its natural brainchild: don’t plan ahead, ignore reality, dismiss facts and experts, do not listen to anybody, pick up the pieces after the crash. Parliament must take over now.

  • John Marriott 8th Jan '19 - 6:24pm

    @Peter Martin
    I do wish we could get away from people and concentrate on issues. If you insist on talking about people and how they are portrayed, what about Matthew Elliott, flitting in and out of public life (Tax Payers’ Alliance, ‘No to AV’ and EU Leave Campaigns) and then behaving a bit like the guest who makes a mess at a party and then is nowhere to be found when it needs clearing up? And where were Dave and Gideon (sorry, George)? Finally, if I were Nigel Farage, I would feel a little miffed about how I was reduced to buffoon.

    So, back to the title of this thread. What do we do now? Are we really facing a ‘No deal’ Brexit? Today’s events in Parliament may give us a better idea. Clearly the world wouldn’t come to an end if we were; but it could be a pretty tough one for us over here, especially if the only person offering us a life line is Donald Trump. He’s already trying to scupper the WTO, which many seem to think is the answer to all our prayers. A deal would clearly not be accepted by hard core Brexiteers; but there aren’t many of them. Remaining in the EU would suit me and many others; but that would be unfair to all those people, who, for whatever reason, still want to leave. Yes, over 17 million people is not insignificant but it is still only 38% of the adult population. Ok, you could argue that the 27% who didn’t vote have only themselves to blame. So, it’s ‘winner takes all’, is it? Now I don’t really want a ‘best of three’. What I do want to say to people like you is to be prepared to compromise.

    What that compromise turns out to be is yet to be negotiated. It will need to include some form of control over immigration and fisheries amongst others, honouring, if in future negotiations our word is to remain our bond, the financial commitments already made and may mean that we will, in certain areas, become a rule taker rather than a rule maker. I could live with that; but perhaps I’m more of a wimp than you. As I said in another thread, people are increasingly living a life in black or white, whereas I would rather live mine in colours.

  • Nom de Plume 8th Jan '19 - 6:48pm

    @David Raw

    Then I don’t understand your argument. If nothing changes then the UK leaves without a deal on March 29. What do you want to happen?

    I was responding to:

    >>I agree with John Marriott’s, “I for one have not given up on the idea of some kind of a deal short of full membership being cobbled together in the end, which probably won’t be by 29 March. And then, and only then, could that ‘deal’, to give it legitimacy, be put to a ‘People’s Vote’ if it was thought to be necessary.”<<

  • John Marriott 8th Jan '19 - 7:03pm

    @Nom de Plume
    Sorry I missed your previous contribution. In answer to your question, I could live with the May deal, imperfect as it is, because, unlike some, I am prepared to compromise.

  • Nom de Plume 8th Jan '19 - 7:13pm

    @John Marriott

    Why not another referendum then? May’s agreement vs. Remain. Especially if Parliament is incapable of supporting May’s agreement. You could live with both outcomes and it would give the people a final say over the direction the country takes. It is unlikely future trade deals will be put to a referendum.

  • John Marriott 8th Jan '19 - 10:38pm

    @Nom de Plume
    So it’s a case of lighting the blue touch paper and retiring, is it? Because a choice like that could be the prelude to even more unrest and uncertainty, whatever the result. Let’s see what happens in Parliament next week if the May deal does get voted on.

  • Nom de Plume 8th Jan '19 - 10:55pm

    @John Marriott
    I am a too young to retire, although I should for tonight.

  • @Peter Martin – “But just think what could have happened if the trade deal had been put first. “

    I think Peter you haven’t thought this one through, the first question that would arise is what type of relationship do you want (post-Brexit): in the Single Market, in the EEA, a Norway style arrangement, WTO arrangement etc. history tells us the Brexiteers aren’t agreed and so would still have procrastinated and blocked any attempt at setting a realistic basis for trade discussions, especially as they would have rapidly highlighted that if the Brexiteers are serious about “frictionless” trade etc. the best post-Brexit arrangement would be to remain in membership…

    Also given the way the Conservatives have handled matters, we would still be looking at a no deal Brexit in March, only they would be faining ‘surprise’ at the size of the financial settlement and the need to get matters agreed in a few weeks…

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJoe Bourke 21st Feb - 1:02am
    Ian, I expect the conclusions of the committee will not be so different to those of Nick Harvey in Liberator magazine. He wrote: "The most...
  • User AvatarMartin 20th Feb - 11:26pm
    Ian: I cannot disagree with your first point, agreeing to an election did require some naive assumptions about Farage and the Brexit party. However your...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 20th Feb - 10:57pm
    @TCO "No, TCO is referring to independent research " No, TCO is referring to an article in The Independent then misrepresenting a quote from the...
  • User AvatarRichard S 20th Feb - 10:45pm
    As a thought experiment, what policies would a UK government need to have if immigration was off the table as a means to solve problems?...
  • User AvatarMary Reid 20th Feb - 10:29pm
    @Cllr Mark Wright - interesting point. Thank you.
  • User AvatarPaul Holmes 20th Feb - 9:54pm
    TCO -As you hide behind anonymity I have no idea what your experience of running elections is (for my part I ran my first in...