James Cleverly, Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party has said that leaving the European Union without a deal would “make business harder”, but that he still thought a deal was “the most likely option”.
The MP for Braintree told talkRADIO’s James Whale: “Leaving without a deal would not be the best option for us. We could deal with it and make it work but it would not be the best option.
“I think leaving without a deal would make business harder. I didn’t get into politics to make it harder for businesses to employ people, pay their taxes and keep the economy going.
“I would prefer us to leave with a deal. The EU also want us to leave with a deal. I still think that is the most likely option.”
'Focuses the mind'
Mr Cleverly argued that extending Article 50 would not be “useful” and a time-limit was needed to “focus the mind”.
“I have always said that adding more time just because we have not made our mind up yet is not really that useful,” he said.
“What we need to do is recognise that we do not have unlimited time because businesses want to know what is going on.
“And, turning around to them and people who are worried about Brexit and saying we still haven’t made up our minds yet, is just not useful.
“The time-restraint is important because it focuses the mind and means people get on with the job at hand.”
He added: “The EU has always left it to the 11th hour – to the final minutes of the 11th hour – to get this kind of stuff done.
“That is the nature of having these big international organisations. Their decision-making is slow.
“They also said that they would not start negotiating until Article 50 was triggered. Delaying these things would not have bought us any more time.”