Andrew Bridgen: No deal ‘back on the table’ if PM’s deal passes

Monday, October 21, 2019

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen has said the Benn Act - designed to block a no-deal Brexit - will no longer apply if MPs back Boris Johnson's deal today.

Over the weekend the Prime Minister was forced to request a Brexit extension beyond October 31 due to the legislation, aimed at preventing no deal if it - or an alternative plan - was not supported by Parliament.

Brexiteer Mr Bridgen told talkRADIO’s Mike Graham: “If we get this deal through, effectively no deal comes back on the table because the Benn Act is passed, that’s no longer relevant, so we go into free trade negotiation talks with the EU.”

Once MPs have agreed on a deal to take Britain out of the EU, the next stage would be a so-called transition period in which the UK implements the deal and engages in talks on trade.

Mr Bridgen said he had feared that during that time the UK would be “at the mercy of the European Union” and risk coming away without a free trade deal, having already paid the £39 billion 'divorce bill'.

However, he said that Downing Street had eased his concerns.

“I was assured by Number 10 that if we don’t get that free trade agreement we will be paying the bare minimum of the divorce bill, basically only our bar bill as we walk out the door,” he told talkRADIO.

He then suggested that the government run trade talks with the United States and those with the EU in parallel to act “as competition to each other to force things along”.

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