Theresa May’s former chief of staff attacked Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal as being “bad for our Union and for our economy” in the House of Lords.
Gavin Barwell, who served as Mrs May’s top aide for two years, also warned Downing Street it would not be able to secure a trade deal with Brussels by the end of the year.
Lord Barwell made the comments in his maiden speech in the Lords as the withdrawal agreement bill arrived in the upper chamber having sailed through the Commons last week thanks to the Prime Minister’s 87-seat working majority.
He said Mr Johnson’s deal made two changes to Mrs May’s original divorce agreement, which made it “worse”, namely creating a border down the Irish Sea and abandoning plans for a closer trade relationship in the future.
Change for worse
“The result is that goods will have to undergo customs checks when they are moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, creating a border within our single market,” he told peers.
He added the political declaration on the future relationship with the EU provided for a “more distant relationship, akin to Canada’s”, said Lord Barwell.
“Again the Government has gone back to what the EU wanted at the outset of the negotiations,” he said.
“I regret two of these changes. I think they are bad for our Union and for our economy.”
Lord Barwell, who was handed a peerage by Mrs May in her resignation honours, also warned the UK was “in danger of repeating the mistake we made in the divorce negotiations”.
“I understand why the Government doesn’t want to extend the transition period, but there simply isn’t time to negotiate the entire future relationship, have it ratified by national parliaments and for business to prepare to implement it in 11 months,” he added.
US poised for deal
His comments came as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told MPs that the White House “is poised at the doorstep, pen in hand, ready to sign a deal” on trade.
Opening the Queen’s Speech debate on Britain’s place in the world, Mr Raab said his counterpart in the Washington, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, informed him the US was ready to agree a trade pact with the UK.
He told the Commons leaving the EU would “boost” Britain’s competitiveness by “tapping wide and global markets”.
“A free trade deal with the US would boost businesses, it would create jobs, it would reduce the cost of living and expand consumer choice on both sides of the Atlantic. So there is a huge opportunity for a win-win deal,” he said.
Source: i news