UK must start negotiating Brexit now or 'risk bad deal' warns Leave campaigner Lord Owen

Britain risks being “pushed over a cliff” by a bad Brexit deal unless it starts negotiating its own trade deals now, warned prominent Leave campaigner Lord Owen.

The peer is also calling on the Government to switch EU law into British legislation.

In a speech to the Swiss Civil Society Association in Zurich that the former SDP leader will be giving on Thursday, he says it would be “gross negligence” for the Government not to start negotiating international trade agreements and for full membership in the UK’s own right to the World Trade Organisation before exit.

“To fail to have these two issues put into operation and sanctioned under UK law in the European Communities Act legislation would be gross negligence.

“Under any of the options for negotiating we must have these safeguards, or we otherwise face being pushed over a cliff edge after waiting for an EU decision in 2018-9 which might prove to be unacceptable,” he said.

Lord Owen said that if the EU blocks British trade negotiations with non-EU members, the Government should refuse to exit under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, but instead use the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties to withdraw.

The peer added that if the Government was “wise” they would carry over all EU law into UK domestic law.

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