THE IMPACT of Brexit could be as huge as the financial crisis, David Davis told MPs today.
The Brexit Secretary said it was impossible to predict how quitting the EU will affect Britain's economy because it will be a "paradigm shift" in the same way as the crash of 2008.
The senior minister also admitted some of the reports produced by his department “weren’t that good” as he revealed there are no formal assessments on the impact of Brexit.
Last month, the House of Commons voted to force Mr Davis’ department to hand over documents analysing how 57 different business sectors will cope with the shift.
Today he told the Brexit select committee that formal impact assessments which attempt to put a number on the economic effects of quitting the EU have never been compiled.
Explaining why the department has not tried to do a formal assessment of Brexit, Mr Davis told MPs: "You don't need to do a formal impact assessment to understand that if there is a regulatory hurdle between your producers and a market, there will be an impact.
"It will have an effect, the assessment of that effect is not as straightforward as people imagine.
"I'm not a fan of economic models because they have all proven wrong. When you have a paradigm change – as happened in 2008 with the financial crisis – all the models were wrong. The Queen famously asked why did we not know.
"Similarly, what we are dealing with here in every outcome – whether it is a free-trade agreement, whether it is a WTO outcome or whether it is something between that on the spectrum – it is a paradigm change.”
And he rubbished some of the documents drawn up by his own civil servants, saying: “The first round – I don’t want to be rude about my department – frankly weren’t that good.”
Pro-EU MPs reacted with anger to the Brexit Secretary’s admission that there are no impact assessments available.
Labour’s Wes Streeting wrote on Twitter: “This is totally disgraceful. Biggest issue facing our country since the Second World War and this is the state of government preparedness.”
David Lammy blasted the minister, saying: “He must surely now resign. He simply can not be allowed to go around lying to Parliament and the British public in this way.”
Wera Hobhouse, a Lib Dem member of the committee, said after today's hearing: "It is unbelievable that these long-trumpeted impact assessments don't even exist, meaning the Government has no idea what their Brexit plans will do to the country.
This is totally disgraceful. Biggest issue facing our country since the Second World War and this is the state of government preparedness. https://t.co/NLetoPw65F
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) December 6, 2017
"Ministers must now urgently undertake these impact assessments and ensure people are given the facts. Whether it's through incompetence or insincerity, David Davis has been misleading Parliament from the start."
After Parliament voted to make Mr Davis give MPs the sectoral analyses written by his department, the committee was handed an 850-page folder containing a redacted version of the reports.
Ministers said they were unable to publish the information in the form demanded because it does not exist as 57 separate documents.
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