Politics

‘What’s the fuss about’ No-deal Brexit will be ‘remembered like Millennium Bug’

Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament

BREXITEER: Sir Bernard Jenkin

“Actually, it's unnecessary and we will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about, a bit like the millennium bug.”

Sir Bernard Jenkin

Dire warnings over Britain's future outside the EU with no deal are similar to those made ahead of the year 2000, Sir Bernard Jenkin said.

He said there would be "rioting in the streets" in EU countries if their producers faced extra barriers trading with Britain.

The MP for Harwich and North Essex told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The civil service and the government are feeding the industry and the industry is feeding the government with this diet of gloom and alarm and despondency.

"Actually, it's unnecessary and we will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about, a bit like the millennium bug."

He said most countries that trade on World Trade Organisation terms have increased their trade with the European Union faster than the UK has over its period of membership.

"WTO terms is not the great impediment," he added.

The Millennium Bug, or Y2K problem, referred to the feared failures of computer systems when the calendar moved from 1999 to 2000, because years had been programmed with the "19" part fixed, and only the final two digits changeable.

Sir Bernard's comments come after ex-Brexit Secretary David Davis said the EU would regret thinking the UK is bluffing in threatening the leave the bloc without a deal.


GETTY

REGRETS: Former Brexit Secretary David Davis said EU would regret thinking the UK is bluffing

He insisted that EU member states had more to lose from a failure to reach an agreement than the UK.

Mr Davis told the Daily Telegraph: "This has great scope for being a massive miscalculation on the part of the EU that could end up with no deal by accident.

"It's certainly not the intention of the EU to have a no-deal Brexit but they are misjudging us at the moment. The UK Parliament does not want no deal but it's certainly not going to be pushed around by the European Parliament.

"I've always thought that no deal is better than a bad deal and while there will be border issues and so on… it would give us more freedom.

"I'm still of the view that we have got two things on our side – we have got our own currency and we are masters of our own destiny in a way that EU member countries are not.

"This is a negotiation and it will go to the edge, but we must not panic about this.

"They have got lots to lose too, and specific countries and specific sectors have got large amounts to lose. As we get closer to the brink, there will be internal pressure within the EU."

Britain will leave the EU on March 29 next year, although some existing arrangements may continue until the end of 2020 under a so-called transition period.

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