The audience member accused Labour of having no idea how to negotiate
Filmed in Dunstable, the audience member criticised Labour MP for Wigan, Lisa Nandy, after she accused the Brexit Secretary for “grandstanding” over Brexit talks.
She said that David Davis is “bluffing and that Brussels know that we are bluffing”.
She added: “It is time we stop messing around, grandstanding, bluffing and got serious about how we are going to get the best deal out of the EU so that we can move this country and this economy forward.”
But the audience member did not believe this position and challenged her.
The audience member said: “I just don’t really think many people in the Labour Party or Lib Dems really understand the basis of negotiations.
“If you go into the negotiations saying you are not prepared for a no deal then you are just signing up for a bad deal.”
Ms Nandy rebuked: “No you are not, no you are not. It’s not an open invitation for the EU to tell us what the deal is, it’s the start of getting real about the fact that a no deal would be catastrophic for the EU and it would be catastrophic for us as well.
“And the reason why it is a completely ineffective negotiating tactic is that the Government has admitted that it is only that – a negotiating tactic.
“The Home Secretary has come out to say that it is unthinkable to have no deal and the Prime Minister herself has rode back on this rhetoric.”
The audience member quipped: “But she’s a Remainer, she was always going to think a no deal was not an option.”
Ms Nandy replied: “But the fact is that the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary are quite clearly, in my view, waking up to the fact that no deal would be an absolute disaster for this country.
“The Brexit Secretary admitted that it is a negotiating tactic, this is not an effective way to negotiate.”
But Conservative life peer Simon Wolfson believes Ms Nandy’s view is a “dangerous exaggeration”.
He said: “No deal is definitely worse than having a deal. A lot of us who voted for Brexit believe in free trade and if we don’t have free trade with Europe then that would be bad for our economy.
“I think to say that it would be a catastrophe is wrong. I think it is dangerous in its exaggeration and I think it is very important in a negotiation that people keep a level head.
“My experience of negotiating there are two golden rules: One is you are going to have days where it just looks like the deal is impossible. You go to bed and think it is not going to happen.
Simon Wolfson said that Ms Nandy’s view on negotiations was exaggerated
“You go to bed, you sleep on it, you go back the next day and the deal proceeds.
“I think we have got to be very careful not to have a national meltdown every time we hit an in-pass.”
David Dimbleby asked whether Mr Wolfson was happy with the way Brexit negotiations were being handled.
He replied: “I think trying to negotiate in public makes it particularly difficult for both sides to compromise. So, I think we have to be careful in judgements about conversations that are happening that we are not party to.”
The Question Time host then asked whether the split in the cabinet mentioned by Ms Nandy concerned him, he said that it was to be expected.
Mr Wolfson said that the UK needs to put forward a no deal option
He continued: “Having a debate between an optimistic and enthusiastic Boris Johnson and a Conservative and cautious Philip Hammond in public is not a bad thing.
“I think finding the middle ground between them is actually a very sensible way to proceed.
“The idea that we have to as a nation have one idea and never have any differences means that we won’t get the best deal, we’ve got to talk about these things.
“But the second thing I want to say is, if we don’t have a credible plan to walk away then we are not going into a negotiation we are going in to ask the price – we can only bluff, plead and beg.
“We have to have a plan for a no deal scenario because if we don’t, we are not going to get the best deal.”