The UK’s foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Friday that a no-deal Brexit will be “a mistake we would regret for generations.”
Returning from consultations with European governments, Hunt told ITV News that the UK may well accept EU environmental and social legislation to secure a free trade deal. However, the UK would only sign up to a deal that respected the referendum result, Hunt said, a statement that is usually interpreted as a commitment to no Single Market and Customs Union membership.
Hunt later Tweeted that the UK would “survive and prosper” without a deal, but it would be “a big mistake for Europe.”
The Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney has said earlier this month that the possibility of a no deal Brexit is “uncomfortably high,” while the Secretary of Trade Liam Fox says a no deal had 60% chances, blaming the intransigence of the European Commission.
The European Commission’s chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier, has ruled out the UK collecting taxes on behalf of the EU, in what the UK calls a “combined Customs Union.”
The UK wants to maintain the status quo for trade in goods, but not services, but without the European Court of Justice jurisdiction in dispute settlement. Technically, identifying goods bound for the EU rather than the UK and collecting revenue reliably is not a straightforward proposition, critics have argued.