Theresa May seeks to dismiss leaked Brexit impact study

Government report indicates any outcome from Brexit would leave Britain worse off

Prime minister Theresa May has dismissed the significance of leaked Government studies which indicated that any outcome from Brexit would leave Britain worse off.

And Mrs May pledged that MPs will be given full and “appropriate” analysis papers on the likely impact of the final Brexit deal before they are asked to vote on it.

Papers prepared by the Department for Exiting the EU and obtained by website Buzzfeed suggested that even with a comprehensive trade deal of the kind Mrs May is seeking, UK growth would be down by 5 per cent over the next 15 years.

This would rise to 8 per cent if Britain left without a deal and was forced to fall back on World Trade Organisation rules.


On Tuesday, one of Mrs May’s ministers warned official assessments which predict an economic hit from Brexit cannot be dismissed.

But Mrs May said the findings were “very preliminary” and did not address the actual deal which she is hoping to conclude.

"It would be wrong to describe this as 'the Brexit impact assessment'," the prime minister told reporters travelling with her on a trade mission to China. "There is analysis being done. This is very preliminary.

"What has been seen so far is a selective interpretation of a very preliminary analysis, which ministers have not signed off, have not approved, and which doesn't actually even look at the sort of deal that we want to deliver in terms of the future relationship with the European Union. "

Final deal

Mrs May has promised MPs a vote on the final deal reached with the EU.

“When the time comes for Parliament to vote on the final deal, we will ensure that Parliament has the appropriate analysis on which to be fully informed, on which to base their judgement.

“But it would be wrong to publish analysis before that analysis has been completed, and it would also be wrong to publish analysis which might prejudice our negotiating position, and indeed Parliament itself has accepted that.”

Brexit-backing minister Steve Baker told MPs on Tuesday that official forecasts drawn up by civil servants were "always wrong".

However justice minister Philip Lee said if the figures in the leaked assessment are "anywhere near right" there should be a "serious question" about the Government's approach to Brexit.

“We can’t just dismiss this and move on. If there is evidence to the contrary, we need to see and consider that too.”

Labour is to seek to force the Government to release its latest assessment of the impact of Brexit on the economy through a binding Commons vote.

In an opposition day debate on Wednesday, the party will use the same archaic parliamentary procedure it adopted last year to force ministers to release Brexit impact papers to a Commons select committee.

The latest leaked study, drawn up for the Department for Exiting the EU, concluded the UK economy would lose out, whatever Brexit deal the Government struck with the EU. - PA