DEBATE: Would it be a calamity if the UK left the EU with no deal?

How would leaving with no deal work? (Source: Getty)

Would it be a calamity if the UK left the EU with no deal?

Mary Creagh, Labour MP and leading supporter of Open Britain, says YES.

For British businesses and working people, leaving the EU with no deal would be a nightmare.

There would be no free trade agreement between the UK and our biggest trading partner – the EU buys nearly half of everything we sell.

How would leaving with no deal work?

For the City, this would mean no passporting rights for financial services. Manufacturers and farmers would face cripplingly high WTO tariffs on exports, including 10 per cent on cars and 40 per cent on lamb.

What would no deal mean for the three million EU citizens living in the UK? They would be left in an unacceptable legal limbo with no guaranteed rights. If EU citizens decide to leave the UK, it would exacerbate skills shortages and hammer UK businesses.

Theresa May recites the mantra that “no deal is better than a bad deal”. But she’s a zombie Prime Minister presiding over a divided cabinet and squabbling party. The clock is ticking on her Article 50 deadline of March 2019.

The last thing British business needs is a no deal nightmare.

Read more: No deal options set out as government fires gun on Brexit

Hugh Bennett, deputy editor at BrexitCentral, says NO.

The key factor in determining whether “no deal” can work for the UK comes down to whether the government commits serious resources to planning for it. There are issues to resolve whether the UK leaves with or without a deal, but none will ultimately prove too challenging if the right preparations are made in good time.

Theresa May’s announcement to that effect over the weekend is welcome, but the government must now accelerate its efforts and publicise them widely to give businesses the certainty they need to plan ahead.

Most importantly, all government departments must now start pulling in the same direction on Brexit. There are elements within the Treasury which are still pinning their hopes on a deal which preserves EU membership in all but name – a shadow EEA-type membership which binds the UK to existing and future EU regulations with no say over them at all.

Not only does this damage Britain’s negotiating hand, but it would be far more detrimental to the UK’s long term prospects than leaving with no deal.

Read more: Theresa May: The ball is in EU's court - and we will prove Brexit doomsayers wrong

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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