With Brexit negotiations continuing amid widespread expectation an agreement is imminent, BBC Radio 5 Live host Clare McDonnell took calls on Thursday morning to gauge reactions from business owners across the country. The BBC host was caught by listeners failing to challenge Remainers over pro-Brexit callers. Andrew, one of the anti-Brexit callers, told the BBC host he was “depressed” at the idea the UK was leaving the EU.
He said: “I’m pretty depressed about it but I think surely something will get sorted out.
“But I spent the last 20 years of my career building my business exporting to these markets and suddenly it just gets taken away for no reason relevant to what I’m doing.”
The BBC host replied: “Andrew, I want to say Happy Christmas Eve regardless of all of that and I hope that for yours and your business’ sake and other people in your industry who are listening, some resolution is reached and it will be sorted out.”
But moving on to her next caller, she added: “Oh dear, he says he feels quite depressed.
“Let’s talk to Annette. Morning to you Annette, from Cheshire.
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“Are you feeling depressed on this potential Brexit day?”
Annette replied: “No I feel quite happy actually.”
Seemingly stunned and sounding almost disappointed by the answer, Ms McDonnell said: “Why? What do you do Annette?”
“I’m a lorry driver,” replied the caller.
“I believe hopefully this deal will come up, we don’t know exactly what is going to happen.”
Talks in Brussels were focused on the details of fishing rights but both sides have indicated a Christmas Eve deal will be announced, bringing an end to months of wrangling just a week before current trading arrangements expire.
Boris Johnson has been in close contact with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in recent days as top-level efforts intensified to get a deal over the line.
The pair were expected to use a call on Christmas Eve to agree the deal.
The EU and Downing Street were poised to announce a deal on Wednesday night but that slipped as last-minute wrangling continued.
Negotiations continued through the night, fuelled by a late delivery of pizzas.
On Thursday morning a UK source said “they’re still going on fish” – the issue which has been one of the major stumbling blocks in the path to a deal.