Plaid Cymru refutes “magnitude of lies” spouted by Brexiteers
Following a failed attempt to take control of House of Commons business on Wednesday 12 June, which sought to put legislative steps in place to protect the UK against the threat of a no deal exit, Hywel Williams MP has refuted claims by Brexiteer Conservative Party leadership contenders that achieving a ‘clean and simple’ no deal Brexit is possible.
Brexiteers have consistently claimed that the UK will be able to ‘fall back’ on World Trade Organisation (WTO) provisions. They claim that once the UK left without a deal, the EU would be willing to negotiate a long-term trade deal on more favourable terms. In the meantime, they assert that article 24(5) of the WTO’s general agreement on tariffs and trade (GATT) will make sure that no new restrictions on trade are put in place in the shorter term.
Hywel Williams MP has pointed out that the main aim of article 24 of GATT is to allow for a time limited interim agreement whilst a proper free trade agreement is drawn up - within ten years. The interim agreement is intended to prevent an increase of tariffs or regulations while that is being negotiated. The EU says that, without a deal, it will expect to settle outstanding withdrawal issues with the UK (money, citizens’ rights and the Northern Ireland border) before progressing to any future trade arrangements. Mr Williams has emphasised that under no deal exit, there will be no negotiations leading towards a future trade agreement. This in turn means the GATT article 24 cushion won’t apply and the UK will be forced to trade under the very minimum of WTO terms.
Hywel Williams MP also reiterated that trading under minimum WTO terms is not ‘simple’. The UK is a member of the WTO in its own right. But at present it does not have individual ‘schedules and concessions’. In leaving the EU, the UK has had to separate its schedules from the EU which are subject to the approval all 164 WTO members – including the EU.
Commenting, Hywel Williams MP, Plaid Cymru’s Brexit Spokesperson said:
“The failure of Labour MPs to vote to wrestle control of the order paper from the British Government on Wednesday is the most recent event to cast light on the very real prospect of the UK being hit by a no deal like a ton of bricks come October 31. With no date in the diary for any Brexit-related business in Parliament in the near future, it is difficult to see a way of preventing the likes of Boris Johnson from dragging us out of the EU without a deal if he so chooses.
“The dangers of a so-called ‘no deal’ exit from the EU are well-rehearsed. What is less known is the magnitude of the lies spouted by various wannabe Conservative Party Leaders when they insist a ‘clean, no deal’ or a ‘managed no deal’ is possible.
“I don’t blame the long-suffering public for feeling blessed relief at even the glimmer of hope from this simple message. After three years of excruciating post-referendum detail, drawing a very straight and final line under the matter might seem appealing.
“But, what the message has in simplicity, it certainly lacks in honesty. Indeed, hawking around the snake oil of a no deal cure-all is nothing less than a Great British Scandal. I truly believe the cleanest and simplest way of overcoming the current political paralysis is taking whatever form of Brexit is churned up in the next few weeks back to the People’s Vote.”
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