Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into. The words of Oliver Hardy may resonate today.

The Internal Market Bill has caused consternation to the EU but if it was intended to make the EU walk away from a trade deal with the UK it might have backfired.

The EU did not walk away but instead have started legal action over an acknowledged breach of international law condemned by all sides of the political spectrum.

It has become clear that the EU does not trust the administration and in the negotiations for a trade deal will not permit any form of UK self certification and will want any deal so watertight that tariffs can be imposed if the EU feels any breech has occurred. All this may be too much for the administration.

Failure to agree a trade deal for some 40 per cent of the UK’s exports may lead to desperate efforts to agree other deals to make up for the shortfall regardless of any diminution of standards. Lack of trust and desperation hardly make for a good trade deal.

If the offending words are not deleted from the Bill it may be that continentals and others say goodbye trust, hello perfidious Albion.

Stan Friedman,

by email