Veteran Labour politician Peter Mandelson expects the UK to end up with only loose ties to the European Union after leaving the bloc.
“It’s almost certain that we’re going to end up with some form of hard Brexit,” Mandelson, who served in the governments of former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, told Bloomberg Television at the New Economy Forum in Singapore.
“Hard Brexit” is often used to mean a divorce that would leave Britain with much looser ties with the bloc than it has now, particularly on trade and regulations. It’s also sometimes used to describe the scenario of Britain leaving without any divorce deal to order the departure.
Mandelson said infighting over one part of the Brexit deal stands in the way of an accord. While he didn’t elaborate, he appeared to be referring to the intractable conundrum over how a Brexit agreement would avoid closing the free border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
“This is crazy stuff, it’s crazy,” said Mandelson, a former European trade commissioner who currently serves in the House of Lords.
The UK is due to leave the EU in less than five months, with or without a deal.