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25th Jan 2019

Senior Brexiteer pundit’s car crash interview does no favour for no-deal advocates

Marc Mayo

There may be a way to argue for it, but this aint it

Brexit is stuck in a bind. A quagmire. A logjam. Whichever way you want to shake it down, it’s struggling. Which means now is the time for clarity and absolutely not whatever James Delingpole did on Thursday’s edition of This Week.

The right-wing journalist, currently serving as Breitbart London’s executive editor, is a long-term advocate of not taking any deal from the European Union and appeared on the BBC show to justify why the country should leap off the Brexit cliff edge.

Sitting opposite Conservative MP and second referendum advocate Sam Gyimah and Labour backbench MP Caroline Flint, Delingpole started off by admitting that his plans meant: “We’re going to take a hit.”

Not the best of starts then, which Gyimah jumped on to point out that voters were, in his opinion, never informed of such a hit when voting in 2016.

In discussing World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules on trade and why he favours them, the journalist spoke of how the UK should unilaterally abolish all tariffs on incoming trade as a “base position”, promising that “President Trump has already said that he’s happy to give us a fantastic deal.”

However, as host Andrew Neil pointed out, a deal would be pointless in such a scenario: “If, because I’ve given the Europeans no-tariff access to the British market, under your WTO rules, I have to give the Americans tariff-free access as well. Why would they need to do a free trade deal? They’ve got the free trade.”

Put simply, Delingpole had no response: “I don’t know the answer to that.” Cue laughter from around the room.

Clearly, having such an intellectual lightweight on a major show does a disservice to any cause they happen to be peddling, but when it comes on such a vital topic as this country’s future global trading policy, we kindly ask that no-deal Brexiteers try a little harder to sound convincing.