Question Time Laughter As Tory Minister Dismisses Brexit Having Any Impact On Economic Woes

"Yes it is," one member of the audience shouts back at Rachel Maclean as she says leaving the EU has "nothing to do" with the downturn.

A Conservative minister has faced ridicule after stating Brexit has “nothing to do” with the UK’s economic troubles.

Appearing on BBC’s Question Time, the audience laughed at Rachel Maclean as she attempted blame other factors as the UK teeters on the brink of a recession and is expected to grow more slowly than Western counterparts.

Her comments came as panellists on the programme debated remarks by chief economist of the Bank of England, Huw Pill, who faced a backlash for saying Brits need to accept that they are poorer to get inflation under control.

Maclean said: “Look, the government recognises that times are tough. We’ve had a global pandemic. We’ve had Putin’s illegal and brutal war in Ukraine and these factors have impacted our economy.”

At this pointed, Lib Dem MP Layla Moran shouted “Brexit”.

“No, it’s nothing to do with Brexit,“ said Maclean dismissively.

“Nothing to do with Brexit?,” inquired Moran, as the audience laughed and one member shouted: “Yes it is.”

Maclean continued: “Well, I don’t really think it’s the right time to be re-running a referendum that we had many years ago where the country voted to leave the European Union.”

She added that Liberal Democrats want to “overturn a democratic referendum” – which is not what Moran had argued on the show.

Pill told a podcast this week that households and companies were playing “pass the parcel” and trying to pass on their higher costs, which he said adds to inflation, pushing up prices even further across the economy.

UK inflation – the measure of the rising cost of goods and services – hit 10.1% in the year to March. It was a fall from 10.4% in February, but still remains stubbornly high – and above the 9.8% that experts had predicted.

On Monday, the benefits of Brexit were written off as “pure fantasy” as MPs debated the consequences of leaving the European Union amid growing concern over the decision.

Brexit has been cited repeatedly as the UK’s economy is expected to perform the worst out of any G20 economies apart from Russia this year and next, an IMF analysis has suggested.

On the same day as the debate, Gerry Murphy, the chairman of Burberry, said leaving the EU had been a “drag on growth” as he hit out at the “spectacular own goal” of a post-Brexit VAT change during a Q&A with Rishi Sunak.


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