UK worse off under all Brexit deals: govt
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has been told the country will be worse off after Brexit under all possible scenarios, according to a leaked government report.
May is under pressure to publish the latest economic impact report, which allegedly predicts that every region of the country and all sectors of the economy will suffer.
The opposition Labour Party said the public was entitled to know the true cost of leaving the EU.
As May flies to China, her Conservatives are in turmoil, amid deepening unrest among MPs over the direction of the talks with Brussels.
May is already facing calls to sack her finance minister, Philip Hammond, who enraged the pro-leave wing of the party last week by saying the divorce would bring only “modest” changes to the relationship.
Either wing of the divided party could bring down her minority government.
The Department for Exiting the EU study apparently says growth will be lower under a range of potential scenarios.
Even if the UK was able to negotiate a comprehensive free-trade agreement, as May hopes without any indication that the EU will allow it, the report estimated growth would be down 5 per cent over the next 15 years, according to BuzzFeed.
That figure would hit 8 per cent if Britain left without a deal and was forced to use World Trade Organisation (WTO) trading rules.
However, if the UK were to retain access to the single market, through membership of the European Economic Area, the fall would only be 2 per cent.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the chairman of the pro-Brexit European Research Group of Conservative MPs, said the figures were “highly speculative”.
He said similar modelling before the Brexit referendum, predicting major job cuts, had been “comprehensively wrong”.
Labour MP Chris Leslie, a member of the Open Britain group which campaigns against a hard Brexit, said the government must publish the study.
“No one voted to make themselves or their families worse off,” Leslie said.
“The government must now publish their analysis in full, so that MPs and the public can see for themselves the impact that Brexit will have and judge for themselves whether it is the right thing for our country.”
May is frustrating other European leaders with her Brexit strategy, three sources told Bloomberg.
May is asking other European countries to come up with ideas on what kind of future relationship might be on offer, the anonymous sources said.
The European Commission’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has tried repeatedly to get May to say what kind of trading relationship she wants.
Barnier says London has to decide between full membership of the single market, and follow its rules, or a loose free-trade arrangement similar to Canada’s relationship. The UK says that neither are good enough, instead demanding a tailor-made deal that will include its huge financial sector but allows it to opt out of the most controversial aspects of membership, including free movement of labour. The EU says May’s red lines on immigration and the role of European Court of Justice set the boundaries of any possible deal.
Pro-EU protesters in Manchester last year. Picture credit: Eurasia Times