A leading Tory backbencher has suggested that the Treasury is helping to undermine Britain’s position relative to the European Union, possibly in the service of Remainers aiming for “Brexit in name only”.
In a Guardian article titled ‘It’s a Sad Truth: On Brexit We Just Can’t Trust the Treasury’, leading Tory backbencher Bernard Jenkin writes: “There is no intrinsic reason why Brexit should be difficult or damaging, but the EU itself has so far demonstrated it wants to make it so; and it has co-opted the CBI, parts of the City and, it seems, the Treasury to assist.”
The Brexit supporter accused the finance ministry of assisting Brussels in “legitimising EU threats of economic disruption,” adding that “We are fast reaching the point when the Prime Minister should assert the authority of her office over the negotiations and call time.”
Jenkin indicated that he was very much of the view that ‘No Deal’ would be better than a bad deal, noting: “A clean break in 2019 would be preferable to the mess they want to draw us into.”
Whilst never accusing Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip ‘Remainer Phil’ Hammond by name, Jenkin was clear that certain individuals seemed “determined to pursue” what he called “Brexit in name only … flying in the face of the clear referendum result.”
Hammond is supposed to have accepted that a so-called ‘Soft Brexit’ — which would keep Britain within the EU’s Customs Union, Single Market, and associated Free Movement regime — is no longer on the cards, although his department was previously said to have been “street fighting” for that option.
However, it now looks as though the prime minister is set on negotiating a ‘transition period’ of “around” two years following Britain’s formal departure from the EU in 2019, which would look very much like ‘Soft Brexit’ — and Leavers such as former UKIP chief Nigel Farage believe Remainers may attempt to extend it indefinitely.
Whatever happened to Project Fear, anyway? 😆 https://t.co/OReTOfuQRV
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 1, 2017
The Treasury was the engine room of the Remain campaign’s ‘Project Fear’ scare campaign during the EU referendum, drawing up reports promising that a Leave vote would inflict an “immediate and profound shock” to the British economy, trigger a “DIY recession”, and lead to an increase in unemployment of around 500,000, under the direction of Hammond’s predecessor George Osborne.
These dire predictions — like those of the IMF, the OECD, and other “respected bodies” — quickly unravelled after the vote, with unemployment falling to new lows and exports and manufacturing orders growing robustly, thanks in part to the cheaper pound.