I AM astonished that John Cumberland thinks that there was “never any mention of a deal” in the run-up to the EU referendum (HAS, Sept 5).

When Remain campaigners warned of the economic damage which would be inflicted by ending our trading relationship with EU countries, the response from the Brexiteers was always the same – they promised we would easily make a deal.

For example, before the referendum, Boris Johnson said: “I put it to you, all those who say there would be barriers to trade with Europe... do you seriously believe that they would put up tariffs against UK produce of any kind...? It is totally and utterly absurd.”

He also said: “It doesn’t seem to me to be very hard... to do a free trade deal very rapidly indeed.”

After the referendum, Michael Gove said: “We didn’t vote to leave without a deal. That wasn’t the message of the campaign I helped to lead. During that campaign, we said we should do a deal with the EU... Leaving without a deal would not honour that commitment.”

Those who say we should “get on with it” and “just leave” should not imagine this would “get it over with”. It would merely mark the beginning of many years of tortuous negotiations with the EU and other countries to establish new trade deals.

Donald Trump’s claim that we are “moving along rapidly” towards a “fantastic and big trade deal” with the US is about as convincing as former UKIP leader Gerard Batten’s claim that “a trade deal with the EU could be sorted out in an afternoon over a cup of coffee”.

Pete Winstanley, Durham