UK Politics

UK must be prepared for no deal on Brexit, says new UKIP leader

Henry Bolton Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Bolton is UKIP's fourth leader in just over a year

Britain must be fully prepared to walk away from the EU without a Brexit deal, new UKIP leader Henry Bolton has said.

He said he would like Brexit to be a smooth transition, but stressed negotiations cannot be endless.

Mr Bolton said any transitional period for leaving the EU must be brief and the two years proposed by the prime minister was "extremely unwelcome".

He accused the government of wasting time and said a plan needs to be in place to leave without a deal.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Theresa May used a speech in Florence to set out proposals for a two-year transition period after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.

Former soldier and police officer Mr Bolton was elected as UKIP leader on Friday - the party's fourth in just over a year.

He told Radio 4's Today programme it would be nice if the UK could negotiate a deal but he does not believe it will be achieved.

"It is absolutely crucial that this country is fully prepared to walk away because otherwise the EU is going to be negotiating forever on this and they are just going to string us along."

He said he wants the UK to impose a short deadline on the EU to talk about a deal and also start putting plans in place to leave without an agreement.

Mr Bolton said his idea of Brexit would not see the UK being part of the single market or customs union and would involve a very brief transitional period.

The two years proposed by the prime minister was "extremely unwelcome", he added.

Mr Bolton said if he was in Downing Street he would be asking people what resources needed to be in place to secure the UK's borders and manage trade if the country left without an agreement.

"Unfortunately the government has lost 14 months asking itself those questions which is appalling and we do need we have those pieces in place before we go," he said.

More on this story