Poll shows strong support for EU deal, as Welsh Secretary says we can 'flourish' without one

Simon Hart said business must prepare for obstacles, challenges and opportunities from leaving the EU single market, with or without a deal Credit: Parliament TV

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart has told MPs that talks on a post-Brexit trade deal between the EU and UK could either way as what he called the "final, final deadline" is reached "in a few days time".

He added that it would be possible to "flourish" without a deal and said Welsh businesses could see "quite positive opportunities" in not being tied to a trade agreement with the European Union.

His remarks come as a poll for ITV Wales shows that most Welsh voters think a trade deal is either essential or desirable.

The most common view was that a trade deal is essential, with nearly as many people saying that one is desirable.

Mr Hart told the Welsh Select Committee of MPs that businesses in Wales are increasingly prepared for any outcome and that there would be "a set of obstacles, a set of challenges, a set of opportunities" to face with or without a deal.

The Welsh Secretary said businesses could see "some quite positive opportunities arising out of an Australia-style arrangement". (Australia trades with the EU without a trade agreement, although it is seeking to reach one).

"It could go either way but I think to rule out a favourable outcome now would be very unwise. If we are unable to reach an agreement by the final, final deadline in a few days time, is it possible to flourish under Australia-style arrangements? Yes!", he added.