As MPs debate membership of the customs union, Green Party Brexit speaker, Molly Scott Cato MEP, has accused the government of totally miscalculating the complexities of Brexit and its impacts on the UK.
Today’s Commons debate comes just a day after the European Commission was reported to be “deeply concerned” about the lack of preparation the UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has made towards carrying over Britain’s existing free trade deals after Brexit.
Molly believes ministers totally misunderstand what leaving the EU really involves and what can realistically be achieved in future deals with the EU. She said:
“Those of us working inside the EU institutions know that the idea of a bespoke customs deal for the UK is pie in the sky. The Brextremists simply do not understand what leaving the EU really involves and are ignorant about what can realistically be achieved.”
As an economist representing the largely rural constituency of the South West, Molly particularly singles out International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, for ‘dithering and incompetence’:
“Liam Fox is leaving our exporters, including our agricultural producers, totally unprepared and with no effective trade regime with countries outside the EU from next March. The dithering and incompetent handling Liam Fox and his department have shown reveals he is simply not up to the task before him. Meanwhile the news from Brussels makes it clear that he has lost the confidence of his EU opposite numbers to be able to resolve the situation.”
“If only the government would listen to the CBI, TUC and MPs from all sides, we would simply accept that we cannot leave the customs union without causing huge damage to our economy, and the potential loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, or guarantee continued peace across the island of Ireland.
Last week a cross-party letter from MEPs to Dr Fox accused him of underestimating the complexities of negotiating a trade framework for farmers and food producers after the UK leaves the EU.