Walking away from the European Union (EU) with a clean, ‘no deal’ Brexit will boost the UK economy by £1.1 trillion over 15 years, an influential group of MPs led by Jacob Rees-Mogg will argue.
In a report, the 60-strong European Research Group will point out that breaking free of the protectionist bloc’s heavy regulation could slash the price of goods like food, disproportionately benefiting poor and working-class people.
They will lay out why they think there is nothing to fear from leaving the bloc on World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, and why they see many opportunities to open up trade with the rest of the world, free of the EU trade policy.
In contrast, Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plan keeps the UK tied to all the bloc’s rules on goods, meaning the UK will remain severely restricted in its ability to strike new deals.
The report also dismisses “hysteria” over claims of shortages of food and medicine under a WTO deal, pointing out that imposing non-tariff barriers to trade are illegal under WTO rules.
“Armageddon-style predictions that the EU would freeze out British goods by refusing to recognise them as complying with EU standards in breach of WTO rules and in a worse way than it treats any other non-EU country are simply not realistic,” it states.
The news comes as the number of Tory MPs reportedly prepared to vote against Mrs May’s proposals hits 80, including high profile figures such as the former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, former international development secretary Priti Patel, and former Brexit minister Steve Baker.
The ERG is set to publish a series of papers laying out alternatives to Mrs May’s ‘Chequers’ plan, with their favoured option a free-trade deal similar to that struck between the bloc and Canada.
Mr Rees-Mogg will speak Tuesday at an event in Parliament hosted by Economists for Free Trade, at which he will say a ‘no deal’ would be “a very good second best”.
He told The Telegraph: “Leaving the EU on World Trade Organization terms would lead to a quite remarkable economic advantage for the UK.
“Economists for Free Trade have calculated that a WTO agreement would result in a £1.1 trillion boost to the economy over 15 years, because our trade with WTO countries has grown four times faster than our trade under single market terms.
“Trading on WTO terms has been hugely successful and prices would go down by as much as 8 per cent for some basic items such as food and footwear, meaning it would provide the biggest benefit to the least well-off.”