Brexit talks are on the verge of collapse after rows have broken out over each party’s red lines between UK Chief Negotiator David Frost and his EU counterpart Michel Barnier. The UK has six weeks until a legally binding deadline ruling out an extension to the transition period. Lord Mervyn King, the former governor of the Bank of England, suggested to LBC that an extension may be more likely as the coronavirus crisis goes on. He said the EU’s arguments don’t “make a great deal of sense”.
He said: “So far it seems that there is an understandable disagreement between the UK and the European Union.
“The UK voted to leave the EU and one of the reasons was so the UK could then decide its own regulations that would apply to our economy.
“The European Union is arguing that even though we will leave the EU, we should still follow their rules and regulations in order to have a free trade agreement.
“That is unprecedented, there is no real parallel for that.”
Lord King continued: “I think the argument put up by the EU doesn’t make a great deal of sense.
“I can’t see any way which you can reconcile the views about whether we should adopt rules and regulations from the EU or go our own way.
“That will have to be resolved, and when it is, then it should be relatively straightforward to get an agreement on a free trade deal.
“But I can’t see at this stage that it’s going to be easy to find a way out of the current en passant in these two positions.”
However, they’d also decide that businesses need a little more time to prepare for that.
The ex-governor added: “I think this is going to be the crunch point.
“It may well be that case that it’s clear that the outcome may be trade on WTO terms, but it will require some practical preparation.
“If that comes at the same times as businesses are trying to reorganise themselves to ensure that their work processes are consistent with social distancing, then it may be sensible to give business a bit more time.”
The deadline for trade negotiations to be completed is December 2020.
Published at Sat, 16 May 2020 19:16:00 +0000