Beware Brexiters’ ‘no deal’ scaremongering

by Nick Kent | 08.08.2018

In the days when politics was about normal things, like health care and schools, the expression “shroud waving” was used by politicians to dismiss hysterical claims that this or that policy would put lives at risk. In the long hot summer of 2018 so many shrouds are being waved you’d think it was a Halloween party.

There is a purpose in frightening people about the dangers of a no-deal Brexit. It would be genuinely very bad for the UK, as businesses and other groups have been warning up and down the country. It would mean chaos at the ports, potential food and medicine shortages and millions of people unsure of their status as citizens. It could put thousands out of work.

But some of those keen to emphasise preparations for such a situation are not trying to warn us of the dangers. Nor are they seeking to make the EU believe we could walk away from the negotiations. What they are really about is getting us to cave in at the last minute and accept a really bad deal, including a “blind Brexit” so vague we still don’t know what it means.

If you think the hysteria about a no-deal Brexit is bad now, it can only get worse. We will get media stories about this daily until September. Today we are told Border Force officers won’t be able to go on holiday in March or April next year. Note that this bad news story was leaked to one of the Leavers’ cheerleaders, The Sun.

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Theresa May’s Chequers “deal” would be bad for Britain too. It excludes services altogether, which account for 80% of the economy and the most successful share of our exports. It also leaves us bound to EU regulations without a say over them. Chequers has been condemned by Leavers and Remainers alike. But there are Leavers who take the cynical view that it doesn’t matter what kind of deal we sign – just as long as we are out of the EU next year. For them, ramping up fears of no deal is vital to making sure that Brexit does happen – and without there being time for a People’s Vote on the deal.

MPs in all parties worried about the consequences of Brexit for the UK will need strong nerves this autumn. Conservative MPs will find the going particularly tough. They will be caught between those claiming that there can be no deal other than whatever bad deal May finally secures and those who say we should leave without a deal.

Sensible MPs know that leaving without a deal would be utterly irresponsible – there is no majority in the Commons for such a foolish approach. But there is a risk that in a tense and difficult situation the easy way out will be to vote through whatever fudged version of the Chequers agreement May gets.

Parliament must do better than that. The process of Brexit has been nothing but delay and fudge, made worse by the absence of strategy and little transparency. This has gone on too long. The British people are entitled to know what their future will be after March 29 2019. They are also entitled to decide whether or not the agreement that the government gets from the EU is better or worse than our current membership. We should take heed of the dangers of no deal but not be bullied into a bad deal.

Edited by Luke Lythgoe

3 Responses to “Beware Brexiters’ ‘no deal’ scaremongering”

  • I find your reports mightily encouraging. I have been shadowed by hopelessness at the turn of events since the Referendum. I think the ony way to restore some kind of national unity is a Peoples Vote to stay in the EU. What a celebration we shall have! Thank you. For the sake of our poor country keep on keeping on. DJK

  • The problem with hugely biased publications such as yours is that there is no mechanism for balancing arguments and promoting enlightening debate.

  • According to Business Insider, Steve Baker MP, former Brexit minister and ideologically wedded to a No Deal Brexit, on WTO rules, is advising people to invest in gold as a hedge against damage to the economy from a Hard Brexit, as he has done.


    If true, this is utterly shameful. Hypocrisy on the grand scale. It comes on the back of John Redwood advising investors to invest in the eurozone.
    Further proof that these people don’t care what consequences ordinary people will suffer through their actions.