Former Brexit Secretary David Davis has had harsh words for Chancellor Philip ‘Remainer Phil’ Hammond’s latest anti-Brexit intervention, branding the Treasury “disgraceful”.
Davis became leader of the new Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) after the EU referendum and Britain’s lead Brexit negotiator — at least in theory.
He resigned from Theresa May’s Remainer-dominated government after she unveiled her Chequers plan for an ultra-soft Brexit, saying it “hands control of large swathes of our economy to the EU is certainly not returning control of our laws in any real sense”.
However, the EU has simply used the concession in the Chequers plan — as Davis predicted — as a launchpad to make even more demands, causing many Brexiteers to demand the Government stop bending the knee and prepare to leave the bloc on ‘No Deal’ terms and deal with it on World Trade Organization terms, as countries like Australia, New Zealand, and the United States do.
This prospect appears to have caused panic among Remainers like Philip Hammond, George Osborne’s successor as Chancellor of the Exchequer, who has been pushing for a ‘Brexit In Name Only’ — or for Brexit to be abandoned altogether.
To that end, Hammond published a letter to Tory anti-Breixteer Nicky Morgan MP claiming the country would be billions of pounds worse off as a result of ‘No Deal’ — on the same day the new Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, announced the country’s preparations for a ‘No Deal’ scenario and assured the public it would be no great challenge.
Office for Budget Responsibility made its first post-Brexit vote forecasts in Nov 2016.
It said deficit would £68.2bn in 2016-17. It was £46bn.
Forecast £59bn in 2017-18. It was £39bn.
Said 2018/19 deficit would be £46bn. Likely to be closer to £30bn.
Pretty big margins of error
— Andrew Neil (@afneil) August 26, 2018
In a direct attack on ‘Project Fear’, the Chancellor, and the 15-year Treasury forecasts his anti-Brexit predictions rely on, Mr Davis emphasised just how faulty the department’s figures usually are in a Sun article.
“When the world suffered enormous financial crisis in 2008, the Queen asked simply: ‘Why did no one see it coming?’ Of course, she was right to ask. Not a single public authority predicted the biggest crash in modern history — not the Bank of England, not the Treasury, and certainly not the Chancellor of the Exchequer,” he recalled.
“Then in 2016 they did it again. Project Fear forecast dramatic downturns in the economy if the people were so unwise as to vote for Brexit. Wrong again.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 6, 2017
Davis said it was no co-incidence that Hammond “insist[ed] on trotting out yet another bogus forecast, on the very day that my successor as Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, [was] presenting the first set of preparations for ‘No Deal'”.
Britain’s great departments of state, the Treasury in particular, are very careful about what they put out and when, being conscious of the impact it can have on the markets.
Hammond’s letter was, therefore “either spectacularly incompetent, or deliberate” — at least in Mr Davis’s estimation.
“I know what I think. It was an attempt to frighten the population into imagining the most terrible consequences of leaving the European Union without a deal,” he said.
“And even more disgraceful, by doing so it will undermine the Government’s hand in striking a deal with the EU.”
'…As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly…' https://t.co/UfHDR7Srne
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 24, 2018
Mr Davis concluded his article by warning that, rather than accept ‘No Deal’, Remainer MPs would “try to scupper our departure by delaying it beyond the General Election, or offer some other enormous raft of concessions to give back control of the EU”.
He added: “This is why we are seeing Project Fear Mark 3, 4 or 5 — I have lost count — trying to terrorise the public into believing they will be denied food, medicines, and even their pensions.”
He singled out threats France would impede the flow of vital provisions between Continental Europe and British ports as particularly egregious — noting that Britain has in fact seen such delays as recently as 2015 when its EU membership was not in question, thanks to French strikes.
“I remember queues of lorries, but I do not remember shortages of food or medicines,” he observed.
“So my advice to all my old colleagues in Cabinet is simple: Ignore the misery merchants of the Treasury, stop fearing things that will never happen, and start planning for the real opportunities that this great country can grasp when it sets its mind to it.”
it's almost as if Hammond doesn't want Britain to leave the EU at all https://t.co/sSFDtWFMtS
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 18, 2017