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Even no deal might make more sense than this unstable Brexit agreement | Anand Menon and Jonathan Portes

Far from generating goodwill and a better working relationship, the trade and cooperation agreement has done the opposite

“No deal is better than a bad deal.” We were among those who snorted with derision when Theresa May uttered (and repeated ad nauseam) the infamous line. Yet perhaps we were too hasty. Perhaps May indeed had a point. Albeit not the one she was intending to make.

In our (repeated) analyses of no deal, we pointed out that even a relatively “thin” trade deal, such as the one that was eventually agreed, would be less economically damaging than no deal. That was – and is – very clear from the economics. It was in this context that we were sceptical about the notion of no deal being better than a bad deal. Obviously, “worse” is a loaded term, not least as Brexit was judged by different people according to different criteria. While some people prioritised economic issues, others focused on more explicitly political objectives such as “control”.

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