No Deal Brexit Scares Debunked: ‘In EU We’re Spending £10bn to Save £5bn’

Activists hold up placards from the Leave Means Leave Pro-Brexit campaign group outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Janaury 8, 2019. - British MPs are set to hold a critical vote on January 15 on the Brexit agreement negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May, her spokesman said on …
NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty

Peter Lilley has hit back at Project Fear stories that Britain will be worse off if it leaves the EU without a deal, saying the country will spend less on EU tariffs and goods would not be held up at ports.

Lord Lilley, who helped establish the World Trade Organization (WTO), hit back at claims by industry minister Richard Harrington MP that WTO terms are “a last resort position” and not meant for trading with complex economies.

“It is meant to provide the basic safe framework for countries where you can’t face retaliation. The European Union couldn’t retaliate against us. You have to receive most favoured nation terms and so on,” Lord Lilley explained on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday, adding that once the United Kingdom leaves the EU, the bloc would want a Free Trade Agreement “and it should be relatively straightforward to sort out.”

The Conservative peer also clarified that any tariffs resulting from a No Deal exit would still work out at half the cost of Britain’s current net contribution to the EU budget.

“The average tariff is four percent,” Lord Lilley pointed out.

“The total cost of all the tariffs we would face from the EU is £5 billion. We currently pay £10 billion or more into the EU coffers — so we’re paying £10 billion to save £5 billion,” he observed.

He also debunked scare stories that trade from Calais would be held up by customs checks, noting that Britain’s own customs and excise office has said it would not impose any more checks on goods coming into Dover than they do at present — i.e. only where there is suspicion or risk of people-trafficking or drugs, alcohol, or tobacco smuggling.

He reminded listeners that the French port of Calais has prepared for increased administration in the event of a WTO exit with three additional lorry lanes and extra scanners for trains, for example.

Earlier this month, the former trade secretary accused Prime Minister Theresa May of stoking “apocalyptic fears about leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement,” likening it to the Millennium Bug hysteria 2o years ago.

Lord Lilley outlined 30 positive benefits of leaving the EU on WTO terms, debunking several myths perpetuated by Remainers — including that planes will still be able to fly to the EU and U.S., manufacturers will still be able to export parts, and British car manufacturers have obtained approvals to sell their models to the EU.

Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement was rejected by a historic margin in the House of Commons in January, with the Prime Minister set to present her Brexit ‘Plan B’ in an attempt to win parliamentary support.

While pressure from Remainers to delay or derail Brexit — or even hold a second referendum — continues to mount, an ICM poll seen by the left-liberal Guardian found that the most popular option with voters was a WTO Brexit while establishment-progressive news network Sky News found in their own polling that 56 percent oppose a second referendum.

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