Nigel Farage teases return to political front lines as Rishi Sunak denies ‘Swiss-style’ Brexit deal change
The British Conservative Party faces trouble on the home front as disputes over the status of Brexit have come under question again following the controversial Autumn Statement.
British Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement marked a complete reversal from Liz Truss’s mini-budget, switching from significant tax cuts under Truss to around £55 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes to try and stabilize the economy.
Another piece of new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to fix the economy might involve rolling back the more extreme parts of the Brexit deal, instead adopting what is known as a “Swiss-style” deal that would allow frictionless trade with the European Union, the Sunday Times reported.
Switzerland retains access to the single market but maintains certain regulations and payments into the Union’s budget. While the Swiss also retain freedom of movement with EU member states, the alleged UK deal would not include such an element.
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Critics of the plan argue that adopting such a plan still requires alignment with Europe on a number of regulations, which was one of the driving factors behind leaving the Union in the first place.
A UK foreign ministry spokesperson told Reuters that such reports were “categorically untrue.”
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Sunak insisted on Monday that “the United Kingdom will not pursue any relationship with Europe that depends on alignment with EU laws.”
Nigel Farage, mastermind of the Brexit Party “Reform UK” in the European Parliament, tweeted a number of statements about the possible deal, saying that Downing Street is “selling out on Brexit.”
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He also noted that Sunak was appointed a stay-in-Europe campaigner by the name of Will Dry as a special adviser.
“Sunak’s Tories will be utterly routed if they try Brexit in Name Only,” wrote Farage. “I will personally see to it,” he added, which a number of outlets interpreted as a possible tease for a return to the political front lines for Farage.
He speculated that if the Tories adopted a Swiss-style deal, the party would be “obliterated” in the polls.
“The result in May 2019 will look like a walk in the park,” he wrote on Twitter.
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Farage also told The Sun that he was “not ruling anything out … if they really did betray Brexit, I would have to do something.”
Reuters contributed to this report.