Chancellor says 'respecting democracy' is more important than 'impact assessments' on Brexit deal

PUBLISHED: 18:22 21 October 2019 | UPDATED: 18:26 21 October 2019

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid speaks at the Conservative Party Conference at the Manchester Convention Centre. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid speaks at the Conservative Party Conference at the Manchester Convention Centre. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA.

PA Wire/PA Images

The chancellor has refused to provide an impact assessment on Boris Johnson's Brexit deal, meaning MPs are expected to vote 'blindly' on how it will affect the economy.

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Sajid Javid has written to MPs on the House of Commons Treasury select committee, which had requested analysis on the new Brexit deal, claiming that it was "self-evidently in our economic interest" to back it.

The chancellor rejected the request to provide an impact assessment on the economic impact of the deal.

He wrote: "My starting point is that agreeing the withdrawal agreement is self-evidently in our economic interest.

"It would bring an end to the damaging uncertainty and delay of the past years and allow businesses to get on with taking decisions, including around recruitment and investment."

He continued to explain instead 'trust in democracy' was far greater than providing numbers.

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His letter continued: "Trust in democracy, and bringing an end to the division that has characterised this debate over the past three years, is something that cannot be measured solely through spreadsheets or impact assessments, important though they are.

"Respecting the referendum and closing this chapter so we can focus on delivering growth, and the public services people deserve, is the right thing to do for our country."

The Treasury select committee's interim chairwoman Catherine McKinnell said the government "appears content that MPs be expected to vote blindly on its new deal.

"The dearth of relevant economic analysis on which MPs can decide how to vote is deeply concerning.

"Whilst the Chancellor commits to provide analysis 'at appropriate points', it's unclear whether the analysis will be published before any further meaningful votes or the publication of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill."

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell also criticised the letter from Javid.

He said: "Flying blind on a massive decision on the future of the economy is no way for a government to make recommendations to parliament or make legislation. It's preposterous behaviour by the chancellor and this government."

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