Boris Johnson has admitted on live radio that he can’t remember how many post-Brexit trade deals the government has negotiated.
Speaking to voters on LBC, a member of the public posed the perfectly legitimate question: given we haven’t negotiated trade deals for decades, how confident are you about securing good agreements after Brexit?
However, when pressed, the PM couldn’t say how many post-Brexit trade agreements were “oven ready”. This is despite the fact the government has spent the past three years negotiating them.
“I would have to come back to you,” he bumbled. “I imagine we have about a dozen.”
The PM also couldn’t name any single country that we have negotiated a deal with.
The BBC reported on 18th October that the UK had signed 18 “continuity” deals covering 48 countries or territories. This is more than the PM indicated on LBC. However, it still represents a fraction of UK trade.
The EU currently has about 40 free trade deals, covering more than 70 countries – deals that we will lose when we leave the EU. Of the 18 continuity deals signed by the UK, several of them cover small nations, including: Georgia, Liechtenstein, the Faroe Islands and Switzerland.
In total, these deals represent just 8% of total UK trade.
Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan involves fermenting an economic catastrophe on a scale that we have rarely seen in the history of the UK.
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