Following the Government’s repeated refusal to request an extension to the transition period, fears have arisen over the likelihood of a no deal Brexit at the end of the year. With the UK experiencing its largest drop in GDP in history amid the coronavirus crisis, Sadiq Khan has warned about the “self harm” of leaving the EU without a deal. The Mayor of London informed LBC that the Government had “no choice” but to secure a deal in order to avoid this outcome.
He told listeners: “I’m confident that we’ll do a deal.
“I think even this Government is not that pig-headed.
“The idea that Johnson, Sunak, Raab and Gove would go into next year, still potentially in the midst of COVID-19, without a deal with the EU would be the worst form of self-harm this country has ever seen.
“I think they realise the importance of this.”
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Mr Khan continued: “They’ve got no choice. We’re talking about levels of mass unemployment we’ve not seen since the 1980s.
“You’ll know that employers have started to consult their staff on redundancies because they’ve been told by the Government that they’ve got to pay 20 percent of their wages and they can’t afford to do so.
“The Government’s got to be pragmatic, which I know is an oxymoron when it comes to this Government.
“But they’ve got to be pragmatic and realise that actually that a deal with the EU, although they may get a few days of bad press from their friends in the media, it’s worth that short-term pain for us to recover from the consequences of COVID-19.”
The Mayor said: “It really is important over the next few months that the Government does a trade deal with the European Union.
“Even more so because we now know from today’s ONS figures that GDP dropped by 20 percent in April.
“Some people in the Government talk about a bounce-back, I can’t see how that happens if we’ve got the second part of the double-whammy of us leaving on December 31 without any deal whatsoever.
“So I’m hoping cooler heads prevail in the Government, but also in the EU.
“We need cool, calm heads in the EU and the UK to reach a deal.”