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All Trump would do after Brexit is force UK to import American goods for US benefit

Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone is an English politician, he served as the Mayor of London between 2000 and 2008. He is also a former MP and a former member of the Labour Party.
All Trump would do after Brexit is force UK to import American goods for US benefit
Donald Trump is not only the worst president of my lifetime, he's also the rudest. Although he's supported the idea of Britain leaving the EU, he's now complained about Theresa May's handling of the issue.

It may be that his views have been influenced by the fact that he's a friend of Nigel Farage, the former UKIP leader.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump tweeted: "They will soon be calling me Mr Brexit."

On Thursday, March 14, during his meeting with the Irish prime minister, Trump said: "It's a very complex thing right now, it's tearing a country apart, it's actually tearing a lot of countries apart, and it's a shame it has to be that way. But I think we will stay right in our lane. I'm surprised at how badly it's all gone from the standpoint of a negotiation.

"I gave the Prime Minister [Theresa May] my ideas on how to negotiate it and I think she would have been successful. She didn't listen to me and that's fine. I think it could have been negotiated in a very different manner, frankly."

Also on rt.com 'Should've listened to me': Trump says Brexit debacle could’ve been avoided if May heeded his advice

Trump has also opposed another referendum, saying: "I don't think another vote would be possible because it would be very unfair to the people that won."

His views on a second referendum are influenced by the fact that he wants to negotiate a trade deal between America and Britain, saying that for the first time in decades "we can do a very big trade deal with the UK."

The Irish prime minister then intervened to point out that he was disappointed that Brexit is happening, but warned: "I think it will be a few years until the UK sorts itself out, but in the meantime the European Union is available to talk trade with the US."

I have never known a time when the House of Commons was in such chaos, with the government defeated again and again in crucial votes about Britain's future relationship with the EU. Theresa May had faced the biggest defeats in the House of Commons of any prime minister in the last hundred years, and it's having a huge impact on her personally. She now seems to loathe many of her Tory MPs and the body language between her and Chancellor Philip Hammond looks like their relationship is over, which is pretty devastating for Britain because unless the prime minister and the chancellor have a good working relationship, it can be catastrophic for our economy.

The one thing on which MPs agreed is that there should be a delay in Britain leaving the EU. Two years ago, parliament voted for Britain to leave on March 29 this year, but little progress has been made on the terms on which Britain leaves. The issue now is whether our exit will be delayed to the end of June or, as many EU leaders want, extend it for another two years.

It is possible that parliament might find a majority for a second referendum on whether to leave on the pathetic terms May negotiated or whether we remain inside the EU.

Although the people voted by 52 percent to 48 percent to leave, all recent opinion polls show there would now be a majority of eight or 10 percent in favor of remaining. No one would be surprised that the change in public opinion is not down to what politicians have been saying, but has been triggered by the warnings of Britain's business community.

Also on rt.com Keep calm & vote: May warns Brexit may take ‘months’ if MPs fail to back her deal

The Institute of Directors said that we have 'parted with reason' a long time ago, and the British Chambers of Commerce warned that our economy was "still firmly in the danger zone" because no one had agreed on the reason for the extension. Adam Marshall, its director general, warned: "Once again businesses are left waiting for parliament to reach a consensus on a way forward and are losing faith that they will achieve this. In the meantime, firms are continuing to enact their contingency plans, anxiety amongst many businesses is rising, and customers are being lost."

The British Retail Consortium warned that we were on the knife edge of a no deal and the value of the pound continued to fall as parliament continued to waffle.

Prime Minister May has lost control of her government with eight cabinet ministers voting against her proposals to extend the Article 50 leaving date. Over half of all her MPs voted against her on this. Amazingly, her Brexit secretary voted against the motion on Brexit even though he supported it in a debate in the Commons earlier that day.

It's not just the Tories that are split. Out of almost 250 Labour MPs, only half a dozen voted to leave during the Referendum. This was not because they love the EU bureaucracy, but they feared it would damage our economy and cost their constituents jobs. But the majority of Labour MPs represent constituencies that voted to leave and many of them have respected that view and voted accordingly. That did not stop 24 Labour MPs voting against their party's policy last week. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn sacked four of his shadow ministers in response.

Also on rt.com Brexit delay makes sense ‘only if UK says what the plan is’ – German FM

Theresa May has proposed that our exit be put back to June 30, and this allows her to cancel Britain voting in the elections for the European Parliament. But if the extension goes beyond that date she will have to allow a vote to elect our members of the European Parliament because of the existing laws that govern this. President of the European Council Donald Tusk has called for an extension going on long beyond the three-month period Theresa May has proposed.

By the time you read this, Theresa May will have tried to get her limpid Brexit deal through parliament, although it has already been rejected twice. It is also likely that Labour will vote for a second referendum if it can't get a general election.

Many Labour MPs are campaigning for a 'Norway Plus' deal which would mean Britain stays in membership of the EU single market, meaning that we are governed by the rules of the EU but lose our veto over what those rules should be.

One of the worst problems is the border between the Irish republic and Britain's Northern Ireland. The real fear is that this could become a haven for people smuggling goods across the border because there are no border checks. If there were border checks, this would damage the living standards of the people of Northern Ireland and could undermine the Good Friday agreement peace deal that Tony Blair negotiated with the IRA just over 20 years ago.

Also on rt.com Tory contempt for the Irish peace process is sowing dragon's teeth

The problems that have torn the British government apart are the legacy of the fact that during the referendum both the Remain and Leave campaigns lied and made ridiculous predictions. Right-wing Brexiteers promised that leaving the EU would see a wonderful transformation of our economy including about £250 million ($331 million) extra each week for the NHS, and those voting for Remain predicted an immediate disastrous recession.

The truth is that the British economy has limped along since the referendum and the biggest damage to our economy has been a huge slump in investment because firms aren't prepared to invest until they know whether they are going to face painful tariffs in trade between Britain and the EU.

What motivated most of the Brexiteer Tory MPs was that if we leave the EU, they will be able to abolish the regulations that protect the pay and working conditions of the poorest, with workers facing increased hours and shorter holidays.

The simple fact is that no nation has walked away from such an important economic unit before. The European economy is bigger than America or China, so no one could be certain of the long-term consequences. It was all guess work.

What no one was told during the referendum was the fact that in the year before the EU was created at the end of the 1950s, 16 percent of West Germany's imports came from Britain. In the years that followed, as we remained outside the EU, those exports slumped by half to just eight percent in the year before we joined. Seven years later, West Germany's imports from Britain had risen to 18 percent.

The idea that we will be able to get from Donald Trump a trade deal that can compensate for the slump in our trade with the EU after we leave is nonsense. All Trump will do is force us to import American goods for America's benefit. We will be no better off.

Although May is blamed for mishandling this, the real villain is the former prime minister David Cameron. For him to have called a referendum without commissioning research to find out what the consequences would be is unbelievable. But fortunately for him, he's not going to suffer as he continues to live a comfortable life which he inherits from the wealth made by his ancestors who ran part of the slave trade.

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