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No-deal Brexit would be ‘disastrous’: UK minister

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Britain’s Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Claire Perry (L) and Britain’s Business Secretary Greg Clark (R) leave after attending the weekly meeting of the cabinet at 10 Downing Street in central London on January 8, 2019. – British Prime Minister Theresa May came under pressure Monday to explain what further assurances she can secure from the EU before MPs vote on her unpopular Brexit deal next week, after the bloc repeated it would not renegotiate the text. (Photo by Niklas HALLE’N / AFP)

Britain’s business minister on Thursday warned that the prospect of crashing out of the European Union without an agreement would be “disastrous” for the country, contradicting official government policy.

A no-deal Brexit would be “a disastrous situation in which we move to the most rudimentary terms of trade with our closest partners,” Greg Clark told BBC radio.

In such a scenario, Britain would be forced to trade with the EU on World Trade Organization terms, which could mean much higher tariffs for some products like cars.

As things stand, Britain will crash out of the bloc on March 29 if parliament fails to approve an agreement the government has struck with the European Union.

MPs are set to vote on the agreement on Tuesday.

“It is my strong view that we need to come together now, we need to act to avoid no-deal because I don’t think there is anything remotely like a majority in parliament that will tolerate it,” he said.

Clark urged MPs to “put differences aside”, adding: “We should conduct ourselves in the way our reputation internationally has always been — to be pragmatic and dependable”.

As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Britain on Thursday, Clark also said of Japanese businesses: “We need to resolve this concern, this very real concern that they have of us crashing out on March 29”.


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