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15th Dec 2016

Brexit deal could take 10 years and STILL fail, says UK’s ambassador

More bad news for Theresa May's hopes of a quick solution

Paul Moore

A Brexit trade deal might not be done until the mid-2020s – if it’s even possible at all.

Sir Ivan Rogers, Britain’s ambassador to the EU, has privately told the government that a post-Brexit UK-EU trade deal might take 10 years to finalise – and could still fail.

The BBC are reporting that a deal might not be agreed until the mid-2020s and even if it is arranged, an agreement could ultimately be rejected by other EU members’ national parliaments as it would have to be ratified by all 27 other member states.

Rogers also stated that the preferred option for the European leaders was to engage in a free trade deal with the UK, rather than continued membership of the single market.

A Downing Street spokesman said this was not the view of Theresa May’s government and remained confident of securing a Brexit deal.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 28: British Prime Minister Theresa May (3rd L) and (L-R) David Davies Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, May, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd sit opposite a Polish delegation during an intergovernmental consultation meeting in the Cabinet Room in 10 Downing Street on November 28, 2016 in London, England. Mrs Szydlo is expected to discuss a number of issues with Mrs May including the future of Polish citizens after Brexit. (Photo by Peter Nicholls - WPA Pool /Getty Images)(Photo by Peter Nicholls – WPA Pool /Getty Images)

The spokesman said in a statement: “We don’t recognise this. The Government is fully confident of negotiating a deal to exit the EU that works in the interests of both the UK and the rest of Europe.”

A source also told the BBC that Sir Ivan was apparently relaying the views of EU member states, rather than stating his own beliefs.

“It is wrong to suggest this was advice from our ambassador to the EU. Like all ambassadors, part of his role is to report the views of others,” the source said.

These private comments by Rogers contrast with Theresa May’s insistence that by triggering Article 50, a deal can be done in the two years.