Michael Gove admitted that a no deal Brexit could lead to certain UK industries being “adversely affected”. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster was being pressed by former Shadow Chancellor Michael Portillo on Times Radio. Mr Portillo reminded Mr Gove he had been “very worried” about leaving the EU without a deal.
He told his guest: “It’s possible that we’ll reach the end of the Brexit transition period and leave without signing a deal with the European Union.
“I think that before the general election you were very worried about a no deal Brexit. What changed?”
Mr Gove admitted that he was “worried” that the UK would not be “sufficiently prepared” for an exit without a deal.
He revealed that getting a withdrawal agreement had increased his hopes.
Michael Portillo grills Michael Gove over being ‘worried’ about no deal Brexit
No deal Brexit could lead to certain UK industries being “adversely affected”
The minister told Times Radio: “That does mean there are a significant amount of issues like Northern Ireland’s position that are now resolved.
“I’d much rather that we secured a free trade agreement with the EU.
“If we don’t, one of the things that we have had is more time to prepare for what’s being called an Australia, rather than a Canada, outcome.
“By definition, the Government cannot fix everything. Being prepared for an Australia-style outcome depends on individual businesses and citizens being ready.”
‘I’d much rather that we secured a free trade agreement with the EU.’
Mr Gove confirmed that the Government would be saying more about this in the weeks to come.
Mr Portillo persisted and demanded that the Lancaster Chancellor “spell out” why it would be better to have a deal than not.
Mr Gove pointed to tariffs as the “principle” reason.
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He said: “If we don’t have a negotiated outcome then there will be tariffs in some sectors.
“Automobiles, agriculture, the export of important products would be adversely affected.
“We import more from the EU than we export.
“Therefore if tariffs were to go up it would be that the EU were collectively paying more to the UK exchequer than we were paying into the EU on tariffs.
“It would also mean that any issues that arose between us and the EU would be resolved before a backdrop of harmony.”