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Would British trade thrive on WTO terms? Absolutely not

Brexiteer arguments on free trade are riddled with basic misunderstandings

By Guy de Jonquières  

Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

As the faltering progress of the UK’s negotiations with Brussels increases the risk of a disorderly “no deal” Brexit next March, Leave politicians such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, Peter Lilley and Nigel Lawson insist there is no need to worry. If Britain crashes out of the European Union, they say, it can trade perfectly well by falling back on the World Trade Organisation.

Their argument was summed up recently by John Longworth, Co-Chairman of Leave Means Leave and former head of the British Chambers of…

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