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‘We will be trading on WTO terms,’ warns Gove, noting time to debate & approve a post-Brexit deal is running out

‘We will be trading on WTO terms,’ warns Gove, noting time to debate & approve a post-Brexit deal is running out
Gove warns UK will trade ‘on WTO terms’ if there’s no time for MPs to debate & approve a post-Brexit deal Gove warns UK will trade ‘on WTO terms’ if time runs out on post-Brexit deal, says MPs may have to work over Christmas.

UK cabinet minister Michael Gove has warned that time is running low for a post-Brexit trade deal to be thoroughly inspected and approved by Parliament, adding that if the clock runs out, “we will be trading on WTO terms.”

Speaking on Thursday, Gove, who is Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said he now believes a UK deal with the EU on trade is less than 50 percent likely.

He told the House of Commons Committee on Future Relations with the EU that if a deal is reached between the negotiating teams, MPs would need “ample time” to debate and approve it.

“Though it is obviously inconvenient for MPs, I am sure all of us would want as much time as possible to look at the legislation and to review the deal that’s been agreed,” he said. 

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Gove warned that this lack of time may result in a bill not being passed before the end of the year – the end date for the UK's transition period for leaving the bloc.

“If we don't have time for that, then the clock has run out and no agreement would have been reached and we will be in a world where we will be trading on WTO [World Trade Organization] terms,” he said. 

If an agreement is reached between the EU and UK negotiators, then MPs, who leave for the Christmas recess on Thursday, will need to be recalled to debate and vote on the legislation.

Gove said MPs could sit on every day up to December 31, with the exception of Christmas Day. 

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He also told lawmakers he believed any port disruption caused by a no-deal Brexit would be short-lived.

Earlier on Thursday, UK Home Secretary Priti Patel reiterated the UK’s readiness to walk away from EU talks without a trade deal, but claimed the prime minister and government would not abandon negotiations if an agreement is possible.

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