Tory Brexit supporters have eyes shut to jobs threat from no deal, warns ex-minister

Too many Conservatives have their “eyes shut” to the Brexit threat to tens of thousands of jobs and the wider economy, a senior MP warned today.

Posted by Times News on Monday, 30th July 2018

Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the Commons Treasury select committee, spoke out after Brexiteers accused the Government of seeking to “panic” the public by publishing assessments of the potential impact on Britain of crashing out of the EU with “No Deal”. Reported from Evening Standard today

Their complaints have sparked astonishment given that they have been demanding that ministers spend billions on preparing for the UK splintering away from the EU in a bitter divorce.

“Have I got this right? Those who have spent two years saying that No Deal is not a problem are now complaining bitterly because the Government is quantifying what No Deal would actually mean,” tweeted Hilary Benn, the Labour chairman of the Commons Brexit committee.

The Brexit Department had planned to put out a regular series of papers during the summer on what a “No Deal” could mean for the UK. But this plan is now understood to have been put on hold after uproar from Brexiteers amid claims that it is “Project Fear 2.0”.

However, former Education Secretary Mrs Morgan told the Conservativehome website: “There are far too many Conservatives at the moment whose eyes are shut and whose fingers are crossed as they hope for ‘something to turn up’.

“If we fatally undermine our economy, or turn a blind eye to its fate during the Brexit process, then the Conservative Party will write itself out of the political history of the UK.” She believes that both the Tories and Labour are “almost irretrievably” split over Brexit and urged Conservative MPs who want a “soft” Brexit to speak up after Theresa May made concessions to the European Research Group (ERG), led by Right-winger Jacob Rees-Mogg.

“For many of us, the Prime Minister’s capitulation to the ERG amendments on the Customs Bill, which were intended to fatally undermine the Chequers proposals, was a watershed moment,” Mrs Morgan said.

Cabinet ministers are touring European capitals seeking to persuade them to offer Britain a better trade deal than currently on the table from Brussels.

New Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was in Beijing today, where he said China had offered to open discussions on a post-Brexit free trade deal, and is then heading to Paris and Vienna.

However, trade experts do not expect China to suddenly throw open its markets to British firms on a large scale.

Meanwhile, German finance chief Hubertus Vath said he hopes to lure 1,000 more jobs from the City to Frankfurt over the next year.

Mr Vath, chief executive of marketing group Frankfurt Main Finance, said 1,500 had already moved and a catastrophic Brexit could take the total to 10,000.

Deutsche Bank has moved almost half its euro clearing activities from London to Frankfurt, although this is not believed to mean many jobs going across the Channe

Editor: Judy Smith

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