Britain is heading for a “dog’s Brexit” in which it will end up “with the worst of all worlds”, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has claimed.
Speaking to The Yorkshire Post ahead of a talk to hundreds of people in Sheffield on Wednesday night, Mr Varoufakis said he believes the UK will get “a very bad Brexit deal”.
The left-wing politician and academic, who has written a book about his frustrated attempts to renegotiate Greece’s bailout repayment terms with EU leaders and is a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, said: “Brexit will happen but it will be a very bad deal. In the end, Theresa May is going to try to push the Tory party into as little change as possible.”
He said issues like ensuring British and EU trading standards remain compatible and the existence of organisations like the European Atomic Energy Committee, which oversees a specialist market for nuclear power across the continent, means it is not possible for the UK to have a clean break with Brussels.
“A hard Brexit, even Theresa May realises now, simply can’t be done. There is so much at stake,” he said.
“It is the Hotel California conundrum - ‘you can check out any time you like but you can never leave’. You will end up with the worst of all worlds.”
He later told an audience of more than 400 people at Sheffield Hallam University that despite campaigning for Remain in 2016, he does not believe there can be a second Brexit referendum on whether to accept a deal on future trading arrangemtns as it would simply cause greater uncertainty and potentially lead to the need for a further vote.
“You can’t have a second referendum in order to untangle the dog’s Brexit being created by Theresa May.”
Responding to Mr Varoufakis's comments, a Department for Exiting the EU spokesperson said: “We are delivering on the referendum result by taking back control of our money, our borders and our laws.
"We are confident we can achieve the broadest and deepest possible future partnership with the EU – covering more sectors and co-operating more fully than any Free Trade Agreement anywhere in the world today.
“We have already made significant progress in our ongoing negotiations which has allowed us to begin talks this week on our future trading partnership with the EU.”