Staunch Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) has said he does not ‘see the point’ in Brexit forecasts on the day a government report warned the UK faced food, fuel and power shortages if a no-deal Brexit and second coronavirus wave coincided.
IDS downplayed a recent Cabinet Office report that the UK could face huge economic and social upheaval if hit by a no-deal Brexit and a second coronavirus wave by claiming civil servants were the ‘worst people in the world to forecast anything’.
The leaked document by the Cabinet Office EU transition taskforce dubbed the ‘doomsday dossier’ revealed the military may be called in to patrol the street and airdrop food into the Channel Islands.
It also warned that parts of the UK may face power and petrol shortages if thousands of lorries are stranded in Dover while shortages of medicines caused by port blockages could lead to animal diseases spreading through the countryside.
Appearing on talkRADIO, IDS shrugged off concerns the UK faced a ‘perfect storm’ of a winter flu outbreak and seasonal flooding, a second coronavirus wave and trade restrictions from leaving the EU without a deal come January 1, 2021.
Instead, he appeared to mock the report saying analysts had forgotten to add ‘the meteor strike’ and a ‘plague of locusts’ to their predictions.
‘Honestly, if I had a penny, I’d have been a wealthy man every time civil servants working in the Cabinet Office or in the Treasury who desperately hate the idea of Brexit don’t produce some ghastly, multiple, terribly accident that’s going to happen to us,’ the former Tory leader told host Julia Hartley-Brewer.
‘You know, the answer is we’re leaving, we’re sovereign and so it’s up to the European Union, as much as us, if they want an arrangement. You’ve got to get on with it and we’re going come what may on January 1.’
Speaking about the research, he added: ‘Honestly, I don’t see the point in people producing doomsday scenarios.’
IDS then suggested civil servants should stop ‘messing around with forecasts’ and return to their offices.
He said: ‘My suggestion to all of these people who say they know what they future looks like, they don’t. They’re about the worst people in the world to forecast anything.
‘So, my answer to them is: instead of messing around with forecasts, pick your bags up and get back to your offices.’
Kings College economic professor Jonathan Portes said: ‘The author of the Universal Credit and ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) disasters says civil servants who warn that things might not go entirely according to plan should be ignored…’
@VernonBriscoe wrote: ‘It is their work to forecast.’
Daniel Howells quipped: ‘Self-imposed trade sanctions at the time of the largest recession anyone would have seen is going to go swimmingly, I am sure.’
@DD1958 added: ‘I fully expect brexit to be as successful as IDS.’