David Davis admits he has not calculated the huge costs of a no-deal Brexit

David Davis
David Davis PA Wire/PA Images
  • Brexit secretary admits leaving the EU without a deal would create new tariffs and trade barriers.
  • Britain could lose bank passporting and face costly border checks.
  • However, Davis admits they have not calculated the economic impact of a no-deal Brexit.
  • He insists: “I do my job on the basis of facts”.

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly insisted that leaving the EU with no trade deal “is better than a bad deal.”

However, the man in charge of Brexit negotiations told MPs on the Brexit Committee on Wednesday that the government could “not quantify the outcome” of doing so.

Asked about the costs of a no-deal Brexit, Davis admitted that leaving the EU without a deal would lead to new tariffs and other barriers to trade.

He also told the House of Commons Brexit committee hat Britain may also lose its financial passports, the EU Open Skies agreement, and be forced to impose new border checks between Northern and Southern Ireland.

He suggested that leaving the Customs Union could also cause long delays at customs and would probably cost British tourists their access to free European health insurance cards.

However, when asked whether May’s government had made any assessment of the economic impact all of these changes, he replied that “it is not possible to calculate.”

He added: “I cannot quantify that in detail yet. I may well do in about a years’ time.”

“Not as frightening as people think”

The government has said that it is willing to crash out of the EU without a Brexit deal, with the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson saying recently that doing so would be “perfectly ok.”

Davis echoed Johnson’s remarks on Wednesday morning, insisting that leaving the EU and defaulting to World Trade Organisation trading terms would “not be as frightening as some people think.”

However, when asked about these comments Davis replied that “I do my job on the basis of facts.”

Asked whether his colleagues do the same, he replied “I’m sure they do. You will have to invite them and ask.”

Referring to May’s comments about leaving the EU without a deal being better than leaving with a bad deal, he replied that her comments had come out of an “emotional” time after the EU referendum result.

A number of business leaders have warned the government about the damage dropping back to WTO would do to Britain’s economy. This scenario would be a “disorderly crash landing Brexit,” the CBI’s Carolyn Fairbairn said

He went on to reassure the Brexit Committee that “we could actually manage this in such a way as to be better than a bad deal.”

Watch Davis in front of the Brexit committee

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The #Brexit Secretary is answering questions from MPs on the UK’s exit from the EU. Watch live on Sky News pic.twitter.com/xE0TD0e4S3
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