THE UK faces more than a decade of Brexit negotiations if it leaves the EU this month without a deal, according to a leading European politician.

Neale Richmond, the Irish Senate’s Brexit spokesman and close ally to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, attacked Boris Johnson’s “Get Brexit Done” message which suggests exiting without a deal would be the end of the matter was “absolute nonsense”.

He told The National: “We have heard much talk in recent months of the need for a clean Brexit brought about by the UK leaving the EU without a deal, a crash out and such a move would complete the Brexit process; allowing British politics to move on. Such a theory is absolute nonsense.”

The slogan “Get Brexit Done” was the theme of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester this week with Johnson’s argument that once it was over politics would again return to domestic issues such as education, health and policing.

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He repeatedly used the phrase “Let’s get Brexit done” throughout his address to the conference on Wednesday suggesting once it was over the UK would be able to concentrate on other priorities.

“Conference, let’s get Brexit done. We can, we must and we will – even though things have not been made easier by the ‘Surrender Bill’.

“We will work for a deal with our EU friends; but whatever happens we must come out by the end of October.

“Let’s get this thing done – and then let’s get ready to make our case to the country against the fratricidal, anti-Semitic Marxists who were in Brighton last week,” he said.

“Let’s get it done because of the opportunities that Brexit will bring – not just to take back control of our money and our borders and our laws, to regulate differently and better, and to take our place as a proud and independent global campaigner for free trade.”

The National:

He later went on: “Let’s get Brexit done on October 31 because we must get on and deliver on all the priorities of the people, to answer the cry of those 17.4 million who voted for Brexit because it is only by delivering Brexit that we can address that feeling in so many parts of the country that they were being left behind, ignored and that their towns were not only suffering from a lack of love and investment, but their views had somehow become unfashionable or unmentionable.”

Richmond said that leaving with a deal would see the UK enter a transition period of up to 21 months with the EU where it followed European laws while negotiations took place about a future trade deal.

However, he warned leaving without a deal would see the UK face years of disputes with the EU over the £60 billion financial settlement, the Irish border and citizens’ rights before seeking to negotiate a trade agreement.

“If the UK were to crash out, negotiations would revert to Article 218 of the Lisbon Treaty with the UK holding the status of third party state. The last trade deal negotiated by the EU to come into force was with Canada; known as CETA this deal took nine years,” said Richmond.

“Even if negotiations were to begin straight away, the EU will insist that three key issues are resolved first before any talk of trade, namely the financial settlement, the rights of citizens and the situation in Ireland. If the UK leaves without a deal, Brexit could run for at least another decade.”

Richmond’s intervention follows a warning by Scottish Government advisors on Europe that a No-Deal Brexit would “condemn” the UK to years of negotiations with the EU.

In an open letter to The Times yesterday, Sir Anton Muscatelli, chairman of the Scottish Government’s Standing Council on Europe, urged the UK Government to “go back to the drawing board” and come up with new proposals for the European Union.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set up the council in 2016.