Brexit secretary David Davis admits he has no clue how ‘no deal’ with EU would hit Britain
Davis said it is impossible to predict how the economy will be affected if the country’s negotiations with the EU fail, but said he might know more in a year’s time.
His statement contradicts that of Prime Minister Theresa May, who previously said “no deal is better than a bad deal.”
When asked by the chairman of the Brexit select committee if any assessment had been carried out, Davis said: “Under my time, no.”
Davis admitted the only assessment carried out by the government since the EU referendum in July last year had been the gloomy forecasts of the Treasury.
But the Brexit secretary discarded the Treasury’s suggestion that the UK economy would go bust if negotiations with the bloc failed to secure a deal.
“Those forecasts don’t seem to have been too robust since then,” he said.
Labour MP Pat McFadden slammed the Brexit secretary, claiming he was putting the country’s economic future at risk.
“Without an assessment, you have mortgaged the country’s economic future to a soundbite,” McFadden said.
On how crashing out of the EU without a deal would affect the country, Davis said: “It is not as frightening as some people think, but it is not as simple as some people think.”
Davis went further by suggesting to MPs that no economic assessment will be carried out at any stage of the Brexit process.
“You don’t need a piece of paper with numbers on it to have an economic assessment,” he said.
He also said the government’s pledge that the UK will enjoy the “same economic benefits” outside the bloc had been his expression of an “ambition.”
Davis also told the committee there would likely be some downside effects to certain sectors of the economy.
He said the numbers in the agricultural sector are “high” and that UK’s dairy and meat producers risk facing export tariffs of up to 40 percent under the World Trade Organization (WTO).
May, who is due to trigger Article 50 any day now, officially kick-starting the two-year Brexit negotiation process, had previously said the country would resort to WTO tariffs in case no deal with the EU is reached.
A Treasury document recently leaked to the Independent claims, however, that such tariffs would be a “major economic shock” for the UK.
Davis also admitted he failed to look at the impact of a ‘no deal’ on UK citizens’ healthcare benefits while traveling around Europe.
He conceded it is “probably right” that they will not be granted subsidies as they will lose their European Health Insurance Cards.
Davis also confirmed that financial services are set to lose their ‘passporting rights’ to trade in the EU.
The chief executive of the London Stock Exchange warned back in January that the City of London could lose up to 200,000 finance sector jobs if the UK fails to draw up a clear plan for post-Brexit affairs.
Meanwhile, the Brexit secretary also spoke out against the committee for failing to ask him about the “upsides” of Brexit, namely the chance to “relax” commercial relations with countries outside the EU, which account for 60 percent of the UK’s trade.