UK

Will Brexit Actually Happen? Newsnight's Nicholas Watt Reveals Prominent Leavers' Worries

Corbyn + economy = ???

06/07/2017 08:49 BST | Updated 06/07/2017 16:21 BST

Newsnight’s political editor has claimed a number of leading Brexiteers have voiced concerns over whether or not Britain will actually leave the European Union.

Speaking on the BBC programme on Thursday night, Nicholas Watt said the economy and Labour’s better-than-expected performance in the General Election has some people spooked.

He said: “I have to say I am beginning to hear talk in some quarters that Brexit may not actually happen.

“I spoke to one Leave supporter who now fears that a combination of a stalling economy and investor fear over a possible [Jeremy] Corbyn premiership could create a storm that would stall Brexit.

“I spoke to another person who’s familiar with the Brexit process who said to me that there’s a strong chance that it may not actually happen.”

June saw a “triple whammy” of disappointing economic news as growth in both the service sector and construction and manufacturing industries slowed whilst inflation hit a four-year high of 2.9%, well above the Bank of England’s target of 2%.

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It has been suggested that fears over a Jeremy Corbyn premiership could stall Brexit

The fall in the value of the pound in the wake of the Brexit referendum and the triggering of Article 50 has increased the cost of imports creating a squeeze on retailers’ profit margins.

A rise in shop prices is seen as “inevitable” increasing pressure on households many of which are not seeing a comparable increase in wages.

Meanwhile the prospect of Prime Minister Corbyn has gone from a distant dream for committed Corbynites to an ever-more-likely scenario after a strong General Election result for the Labour leader.

Prior to the vote, practically every public poll showed Theresa May to be the nation’s preferred choice for PM but a disastrous campaign strewn with PR fails turned the results upside down.

May previously had a 39% lead but a YouGov survey conducted towards the end of last month put Corbyn on 35% to May’s 34% when asked who would be the better premier.

The Labour leader’s platform of nationalising railways and raising wages and taxes is seen as far less business-friendly than a Tory government.

But it’s not all bad news for Brexiteers - Watt added: “I did speak to one senior Brexiteer who is absolutely confident that Brexit will happen if only for one very simple reason - Labour divisions mean that the legislation paving the way for Brexit will get through Parliament.”