LBC Radio

LBC Radio host and prominent anti-Brexit commentator James O'Brien has branded Tory minister Alok Sharma's comments on the proposed 'Australia-style' deal with the EU as "worse than disingenuous."

On Monday morning, Sharma had appeared on the Nick Ferrari show on LBC and was quizzed about the current state of Brexit and the difference between a no-deal exit from the European Union or an apparent 'Australia-style' deal, which the government has already been forced to admit is basically also a no deal.

When Ferrari asked Sharma, the business secretary, about the next steps for Brexit, the MP said:

We are now preparing to leave on Australia terms, which are WTO plus some additional measures but of course, this is ultimately up to the European Union.

We've always been very clear that we want to leave on a Canada style trade deal. That is something that the EU has with other friendly nations because that's what we want but it was pretty clear on Thursday that that's not the direction it's going in that's why the prime minister said that unless the EU considerably change their approach to this.

Wishing to learn a bit more Ferrari scrutinised Sharma exactly what the difference between a no-deal Brexit and an Australia deal actually is. Scrambling for an explanation, Sharma said this:

I mean the Australia deal is the deal you have with countries that you are predominantly working with on a WTO basis. It's a question of semantics at the end of the day.

O'Brien played that entire back-and-forth between he and Sharma on his radio show on Monday and gave this rather frank assessment.

As Nick identified, the Australia deal means nothing. In many ways its worse than disingenuous because the country of Australia is on the European Union's list of territories that it wants to do a trade deal with.

It also, of course, trades on an epic scale with China. It bears precious little relationship to our economy. It's weird for me this, now that many people are coming around to realise many of the things that we were saying when there was still a chance of stopping the nonsense of Brexit. There's no chance at all now, so how do you frame these conversations? 

O'Brien turned his attention to people who might have been a little shocked to hear some of the truths about no deal and why the government chose Australia of all places.

Some people are still surprised because presumably, you'd be surprised to hear that if you haven't had a life and have been leading a normal existence and not immersed in the madness of the last four years and thought that an Australia style deal actually meant something. Why Australia? Is it because they're slightly more suntanned versions of us?

They're essentially a white, anglosphere country which makes everyone subconsciously think 'that's great.' It's going to be like Ramsey Street and the weather's going to improve It's utterly meaningless. Arguably it's worse than meaningless but as someone who has pointed this out from the start, I don't know what the point is of pointing it out now. There is nothing we can do about it. 

He ended the segment by hypothesising what the 'best case scenario' could now be for Brexit going forward because at this stage, there aren't many left.

Every single person in the country who thinks that Brexit is a good idea will just effortlessly segue to thinking that an Australian-style deal meant something to acknowledge that it means absolutely nothing. Didn't take long for people to start pretending on this programme that they knew that they were gonna get no-deal and wanted it all along. For the record, I just don't know what's going to happen now. The best-case scenario for Britain is that he signs up to a flimsy deal that's already more-or-less on offer and relies upon his newspaper owning friends to present it to the public as a victory of his brinkmanship and diplomacy.

You can watch the entire segment on the LBC Radio website.

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