The panel, which also included Brexit Secretary David Davis and the SNP’s Alex Salmond, were debating the UK’s imminent departure from the failing bloc.
Mr Clegg, a key voice of the ongoing pro-European Remain movement, claimed it was “logically impossible” to achieve “frictionless” access to the EU’s single market without membership to the bloc.
“This is the first major trade negotiation I have ever encountered where the outcome will, for sure, be less trade because the United Kingdom pulling out of the customs union,” he said.
Nick Clegg was lambasted by a Question Time audience member over his negative Brexit outlook
We don’t really need Europe – they need us!
Question Time audience member
“The single market – created by Margaret Thatcher – has got very little to do with tariffs and levies, it is a place of rules.
“You cannot – it is logically impossible – do what The§resa May, David and the rest of the Government are saying about having frictionless access to the single market and they say in the same breath we will not abide by the rules of that marketplace – that is impossible.”
Despite receiving applause from parts of the audience, his statement caused an angry backlash from others, with one man looking to vent his anger at the Lib Dem politician.
The unnamed audience member blasted: “We have a worldwide market, which is queuing up to do deals with us.
“What you have said regarding our exports to Europe will not quantify our exports and imports with the rest of the world.
“Australia, New Zealand and Canada are on our side, if we pick up China and India we don’t really need Europe – they need us!”
Throughout the debate, Mr Davis and the Government were constantly lambasted for their apparent lack of a plan.
However, the Brexit Secretary rebuked critics, claiming the Government had spent nine month’s since June’s Brexit vote preparing a plan for Britain’s European divorce.
Brexit: Results of how the UK voted Mon, March 20, 2017
Much of the North East of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union including Sunderland, Gateshead, Darlington, Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside, and Northumberland
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GREAT YARMOUTH: The town of Great Yarmouth on the East Coast of England voted by 72% to leave the European Union.
Mr Salmond and Labour’s Brexit spokesman Sir Keir Starmer were asked what would happen if the Prime Minister was unable to strike a deal with Brussels.
Mr Davis said it was not a scenario the Government wanted to see, adding: “We have got a huge contingency plan, exercised across all of these issues, every department of government.”
On Wednesday, Mrs May will send a letter to the European Council, officially notifying the body of the UK’s intention to leave the EU by triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
The letter will set in motion a two-year negotiation process in which the terms of the UK’s divorce and its future relationship with the bloc’s remaining 27 EU members.