Dec 01, 2020 17:56 UTC
  • Former senior UK diplomat Julian King pleads for EU trade deal

As negotiations between the UK and the European Union (EU) on a post-Brext trade agreement reach their climax, a former senior British diplomat has issued a dire warning of the consequences of not securing a deal.

According to reports, Julian King, who in 2016 was appointed as British European Commissioner by former PM David Cameron, has taken to twitter to argue that it’s “time to do a deal with the EU”.

King, whose last official role was European Commissioner for the Security Union, has highlighted the adverse impact of a no deal outcome by warning of the consequences pursuant to a degraded cooperation between British and European officials in the security sector.

He has also pointed to potential economic, political and security problems in Northern Ireland, where Brexit-related uncertainty has rejuvenated the Irish Unity movement. 

But above all, King has drawn attention to a potential constitutional crisis leading to the breakup of the country by warning of “tensions elsewhere in the UK”, a cryptic reference to Scotland.

On foreign policy, King argues that a no deal would weaken the UK’s traditional role in mediating between the EU and the US and in addition potentially weaken the UK’s hand in its increasingly volatile relationship with China.

In view of his high diplomatic standing, King has been careful to separate British negotiators from the wider politics that surrounds their work.

Beyond his core expertise on the EU, King also served as UK ambassador to Ireland and France, in addition to serving in a high position in the Northern Ireland officer.

He is the most senior and experienced British diplomat to date to sound the alarm bells on the consequences of exiting the European Union without a formal trade deal.