Tory Brexit wars escalate as Dominic Raab says financial projections need to be ‘treated with caution’ days after Philip Hammond used them to warn of no-deal doom
- Mr Raab said some projections need to be treated with ‘a measure of caution’
- It comes days after Philip Hammond warned a ‘no-deal’ Brexit could cause major damage to Britain’s finances
- The Chancellor was accused of launching a ‘another instalment of dodgy Project Fear’ last week
The Tory Brexit wars escalated yesterday after the Brexit Secretary dismissed the Treasury’s dire economic forecasts.
Dominic Raab said some projections needed to be treated with ‘a measure of caution’ – days after Philip Hammond warned a ‘no-deal’ Brexit could cause major damage to Britain’s finances.
The Chancellor was accused of launching a ‘another instalment of dodgy Project Fear’ when he suggested last week that gross domestic product (GDP) could fall and borrowing could be around £80billion a year higher by 2033/34 if it leaves the EU without a deal.
Dominic Raab said some projections needed to be treated with ‘a measure of caution
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But Mr Raab told The Sunday Times: ‘I’m always chary of any forecast because most of them have been proved to be wrong.’
Stressing that ‘some of the forecasts’ should be treated with ‘a measure of caution’, he pointed out that estimates of UK GDP for next year have been ‘revised up’.
The Chancellor’s dire predictions, set out in a letter to Conservative MP Nicky Morgan, the pro-Remain chairman of the Treasury select committee, emerged hours after Mr Raab tried to play down fears over the impact of a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Raab’s predecessor as Brexit Secretary, David Davis, yesterday criticised Mr Hammond and urged colleagues to ignore the ‘misery merchants’ of the Treasury.
Writing in The Sun on Sunday, he said the timing of the Chancellor’s letter ‘was either spectacularly incompetent or deliberate’, and added: ‘I know what I think.’
Mr Davis said: ‘It was an attempt to frighten the population into imagining the most terrible consequences of leaving the EU without a deal.’ It also emerged yesterday the Cabinet will meet to discuss plans for a no-deal Brexit over fears a row between Brexiteers and Remainers is undermining negotiations with Brussels.
Philip Hammond warned a ‘no-deal’ Brexit could cause major damage to Britain’s finances.
No 10 has ordered Cabinet ministers to clear their diaries for September 13 to work on a plan to pump extra funding into key areas not yet covered by contingency plans.
Meanwhile, former European Council president Herman Van Rompuy has warned that crashing out of the EU without a deal poses ‘an existential threat to the UK itself’.
The ex-Belgian prime minister said: ‘We could end up with a situation in which the EU27 becomes more united and a United Kingdom less united.’
On Saturday a rally was held in Newcastle by those calling for a second poll on the final Brexit deal. Sir Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat leader, told the People’s Vote event that teenagers aged 16 and 17 should be able to vote in any second ballot.
He said the 2016 referendum to leave the EU – in which only those aged 18 and over were eligible to vote – was ‘imposed on young people to the loss of their futures’.
On Tuesday Labour shadow minister Barry Gardiner warned that a second referendum could lead to civil disobedience on the streets.
n Philip Hammond has signed off at least £92million to fund a satellite navigation system which will rival the EU’s Galileo programme. It comes after the European Commission said Britain cannot play a full part in Galileo – even though it helped create it.
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