UK Foreign Secretary Says No-deal Brexit ‘Doesn’t Hold Terrors’ For Him

By EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (Boris Johnson) via Wikimedia Commons

The foreign secretary of the United Kingdom says that withdrawing from the European Union without a deal on Brexit “doesn’t hold terrors” for him and the UK would be able to do “very well” if it crashed out onto the terms of the World Trade Organisation.

Talking to a small audience of Telegraph subscribers last Thursday evening, Boris Johnson stated: “I’ve never been one of those who is apprehensive about the so-called ‘no deal’ scenario. No deal is better than a bad deal.”

He added: “If we have to come out on WTO terms we will be prepared to do so.

“It doesn’t hold terrors for me, and we will do very well under those circumstances as well.”

If the negotiators of the United Kingdom and the European Union fail to thrash out a Brexit deal, then the United Kingdom will default to the trading terms of the WTO, which most economists warn would involve a wave of damaging tariff and non-tariff barriers on the exporters in the United Kingdom.

Johnson spoke hours after the government released a previously secret impact study on Brexit which discovered that a “no deal” scenario would decrease the economic growth in the United Kingdom by 8 percent over 15 years as compared to current forecasts.

The study said that a no deal outcome would result in “high” trade barriers, “high” customs barriers, and “high” tariffs with the European Union after Brexit.

Johnson also said that there could be “very, very minimal controls” at the border between the north and south Ireland when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

This is a contradiction of the repeated insistence of Theresa May, the British Prime Minister,  that there will be no physical infrastructure on the historic border as an outcome of Britain leaving the customs union and the single market.

The issue on the Irish border is politically sensitive since avoiding a hard border between the Irish Republic, and Northern Ireland is perceived to be as essential to honouring the Good Friday Agreement.

Johnson said that it “will be possible to have very, very minimal controls at the border.” He said that the issue “has understandably a great deal of political, emotional charge.”