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Remainer Phillip Hammond Forced to Rewrite ‘Project Fear’ Predictions

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond
Leon Neal/Getty
LIAM DEACON

The anti-Brexit Chancellor has been forced to wind back “project fear” predictions for a clean “no deal” Brexit, amid concerns they will be seen as too “negative.”

The government is set to publish 84 document this Thursday on the UK’s planning for leaving the bloc on World Trade Organisation (WTO) trading rules, as talks with the bloc struggle on.

However, sources told the Telegraph that the “tone” of several documents from the Treasury, Chancellor Philip Hammond’s department, raised concerns.

Sections of a document on the “current status” of arrangements with the bloc were too “upbeat” and the claimed implications of a “no-deal” Brexit seen were as “negative”.

The sections have now been redrafted and are seen as more “factual”, the paper reports.

Mr Hammond was a supporter of the Remain side in the referendum campaign and has been pushing for a “soft” Brexit with the UK tied to the Single Market and its rules since the Brexit vote.

“Project Fear” was the name given to the anti-Brexit campaign claiming Brexit would have a disastrous impact on the UK economy.

Former Tory Chancellor George famously signed a Treasury forecast in May 2016, claiming that in a ‘shock’ scenario, GDP would be 3.6 percent lower two years after a vote to leave and unemployment would rise by 520,000.

Last week, over two years after the vote to leave, official figures revealed unemployment has dramatically fallen, hitting its lowest level since 1975, whilst the economy and wages have continued to grow.

A recent a series of leaks, emerging the beginning of June, suggested that the Government was preparing to publish “Armageddon” scenarios for a “no deal” Brexit, prompting fresh allegation of pushing a “new project fear.”

The leaks included claims that there would be shortages of medicine, fuel, and food within just two weeks of leaving the EU with the army would need to be put on standby to avert disaster.

As controversy and criticism of a perceived return to “project fear” grows, the publication of the most controversial papers is likely to be delayed until next month, the Telegraph reports.

A Cabinet source said that about 15 of the papers “require further collective agreement” before they are ready to make public.

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