“There are only weeks to go now before a deal has to be agreed with our European partners, but there are still mixed messages coming from Government Ministers. The Foreign Secretary says that crashing out of the EU without a deal would be a
“mistake we would regret for generations”,
the Brexit Secretary says that no deal would bring “countervailing opportunities”, and the Prime Minister says that it
“wouldn’t be the end of the world.”
The Chancellor has a critical role to play in bringing some rationality to this debate. The Treasury has calculated that no deal could result in the UK’s GDP being over 10% smaller. Will he outline, and be absolutely clear to some of his colleagues, what that would mean for jobs, wages, investment and living standards?
The problem is that time is running out, and increasingly people on all sides of this issue are feeling let down, so let me put this to the Chancellor: can we both try to get the message across to the Prime Minister, who continues to insist that no deal is better than—[Interruption.] She continues to insist that a bad deal is better than—[Interruption.]
I will negotiate that again, Mr Speaker. She continues to insist that a bad deal is better than no deal.
Business organisations are clear. The CBI is warning of a “catastrophe”, the National Farmers Union says it would be “an Armageddon scenario”, and, according to the TUC, a no deal Brexit would be “devastating for working people”. So may I appeal to the Chancellor? He knows the consequences of a no deal scenario, so will he now show some leadership and make it clear to his colleagues that he will not accept it?”
Topical Questions to the Chancellor of the Exchequer: John McDonnell vs Phillip Hammond