Minister: Leaked Paper Forecasting Brexit Economic Disaster Is Remainer Sabotage Plot

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A government paper claiming that Britain will suffer outside the EU was deliberately leaked in a bid to sabotage Brexit, according to a senior minister.

Slamming the analysis as “flawed”, Steve Baker pointed to civil servants’ poor track record in forecasting the economy, and told MPs he looks forward to continuing to prove the Brexit “horror story predictions” wrong.

The Brexit minister made the remarks during an emergency statement after BuzzFeed News published leaked Brexit analysis drawn up by government officials which said cutting ties with Brussels would harm the UK economy.

He told the House of Commons that the leaking of the paper was “an attempt to undermine our exit from the European Union”, pointing out that the “preliminary analysis” only looked at off-the-shelf trade options, ignoring Britain’s “preferred outcome” of a bespoke deal.

Adding that the report “does not take account of the opportunities of leaving the EU”, Mr. Baker urged MPs to show “a healthy scepticism about the use of mathematical economic forecasting”, pointing to “horror story predictions” made prior to the EU referendum.

He said: “We can see what some of these economic forecasts – or some of this analysis can be worth. Take for example the respected Bank of England. What institution could be more respected for its analyses? But in August 2016 they made a quantitative forecast of the impact of Brexit – what did they say?

“They said that exports would go down by half a per cent but they went up by 8.3 per cent; they said business investment would go down by 2 per cent, it went up 1.7 per cent; they said housing investment would go down by 4.75 per cent, it went up by 5 per cent; it said employment growth would be zero, flat, it went up to an all time high.”

Theresa May referred to the BuzzFeed leak at Cabinet, promising that MPs would see a full economic analysis before voting on the final deal for leaving the EU.

A spokesman for Mrs. May said: “The Prime Minister said this was initial work, not approved by ministers which only considers off-the-shelf scenarios. No analysis was made of the bespoke agreement we seek as a matter of Government policy.”

Mr. Baker’s questioning of civil servants’ record of accuracy producing economic forecasts “triggered a furious backlash”, according to the left-wing Guardian, which quoted FDA union boss Dave Penman alleging the minister’s remarks “insult the dedicated professionals working in his department and across the civil service”.

Breitbart London reported last week that Lord Lawson, who served as chancellor under Margaret Thatcher, warned civil servants will “do their best to frustrate” Brexit because Whitehall staff “loathe radical change of any kind”.


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