Theresa May’s response to the devastating BuzzFeed leak of impact assessments is to say that they are irrelevant because the Government will soon sign a wonderful bespoke trade deal with the EU which will lift all boats and dispel all gloom.
This is impossible because of the red lines she has already set down. The only trade deal now open to Britain is the fifth-rate version similar to those signed with South Korea and Canada. This is made clear by the ‘steps’ graphic produced by Michel Barnier in December and reproduced by The New European at the time. The fantasy of a trade deal which favours Britain ‘because they need us more than we need them’ belongs in the dustbin with the fantasy of immediate trade talks and the fantasy of no divorce bill and it is sad to see the Prime Minister still peddling it.
Is it any wonder that civil servants in David Davis’ department should have prepared such a grim assessment of Britain’s prospects after Brexit when their boss exudes an air of zero preparation and a couldn’t-care-less attitude every time he appears before a parliamentary committee?
Simon Nielsen, Gillingham
First David Davis says there are Brexit impact assessments about different sectors in ‘excruciating detail’, then he says there are no such assessments. Then assessments emerge predicting bad stuff for the chemical, textile, manufacturing, food and motoring sectors.
Much as I am enjoying the impact assessment hokey-cokey, is it not time for Davis to put his whole self out of government if he can’t get his story straight?
Bobby Duncan, Leith
Iain Duncan Smith tells us to ignore the leaked Brexit impact analysis because ‘every single forecast’ about the cost of leaving the EU has been ‘completely wrong’. Yet at the end of last year, IDS was boasting that the Office for Budget Responsibility’s most recent forecast had ‘said there is literally zero effect on the economy in this forecast for Brexit’.
Which is it to be? Does Iain Duncan Smith believe in expert forecasts or not? Or only when it suits him?
Michelle Courtney, Leeds
I wish I lived near Iain Duncan Smith. What a thrill it must be, on winter days when the weathermen are predicting snow and gales, to see him striding out of the front door in shorts and sandals to emphasise his belief that all expert forecasts are completely meaningless.
Andy Newton, Hove
I am surprised most of the Cabinet did not support Boris Johnson’s demand for a further cash injection into the NHS.
Because the continuing squabbling over the complexities of Brexit must be raising the PM’s and ministers’ blood pressures to such high levels that they themselves may soon require hospital treatment.
Roger Hinds, Coulsdon
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