Tory members of a parliamentary Brexit committee have refused to back its conclusion that Theresa May’s “no deal is better than a bad deal” claim is false.
The committee rubbished the Prime Minister’s assertion saying it would be a “very destructive outcome”, however six Brexiteer MPs walked out of the group in disagreement.
Committee member Pat McFadden MP accused his Tory colleagues, who include leave campaigner Dominic Raab and former culture secretary John Whittingdale, of being “annoyed by the facts”.
He said: “The report faithfully reflects the evidence that the committee has heard. (Committee chair) Hilary Benn has made every effort to be open and accommodating to all strands of opinion on the committee.”
Benn said the government must prepare for the “worst-case” scenario of being unable to secure a deal with EU and crashing onto World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and called for an impact assessment of the likely economic consequences if that happens.
Been told the BBC’s Today show that the committee’s recommendations are based on evidence given by Brexit secretary David Davis, who admitted that government had not carried out an assessment on what will happen if Britain is forced to trade under WTO legislation.
He said: “If the government is going to make this assertion that no deal would be better than a bad deal, then I think everyone would expect the government to have done some assessment.
“(No deal) would mean a return of tariffs and other non-tariff barriers to trade, if you’re a beef or dairy farmer you’re talking about tariffs for 30-40%, it would have an impact on financial services because passporting is very important to them, a million people work in financial services, all the way through to the emergency healthcare we get when we travel in Europe through the EHIC health card. All of those things fall by the wayside if you had no agreement.
“Therefore it seems to the committee sensible that the government should do an assessment, and when we asked (Davis) has the government done so, his reply was no we haven’t. Maybe they will, and that’s why we set out they should.”
Tory MP Dominic Raab insisted the report was “rushed, skewed and partisan”, saying that it undermined the committee’s “credibility and influence”.
However Raab’s “hard” Brexit views are in opposition to the findings of a separate parliamentary committee examining the UK’s service industry, as well as warnings that have come from the banking, transport and manufacturing industries.