Theresa May’s former second-in-command has taken a swipe at Brexit MPs who “won’t accept evidence” in his first interview since being sacked over a porn scandal.
Damian Green, who was axed as First Secretary of State just before Christmas, warned the country was in danger of being run on “faith-based policies” as many MPs dismiss forecasts and reports which don’t sit with their views.
Government reports leaked to BuzzFeed News in January which showed a hit to the economy under various Brexit scenarios were dismissed by Leave campaigners – with Brexit Minister Steve Baker saying civil service forecasts are “always wrong”.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4 in an interview due to be broadcast on Monday evening, Green said: “There’s a great problem of politicians who won’t accept evidence.
“We can all argue about economic forecasts and none of them are 100% accurate but you have to rely on them and if you reject evidence you don’t like then you will end up with faith-based policies.”
He added: “If analysis is being produced then publish it.”
Much of the criticism of the forecasts came from Brexit-backing Tory MPs, with Jacob Rees-Mogg going as far as claiming civil servants are “fiddling the figures” when it comes to analysing Brexit.
Green hit out at such suggestions, and said: “I do reject all the conspiracy theories that suggest there’s some sort of plot inside the official machine to thwart the will of the people.”
Tory MP Peter Bone, who spearheaded the anti-EU Grassroots Out group during the 2016 referendum, said publishing the UK’s analysis would be “absurd” unless all the other EU countries published theirs.
Speaking to HuffPost UK, Bone said: “Is Damian travelling round all the EU countries asking for their governments to publish their impact assessments?”
On the notion of conspiracy theories, Bone said: “He is part of the establishment and there’s an establishment determined to stop Brexit.
“That is reflected within the civil service and within parts of the media, although it doesn’t mean every civil servant is part of it.
“Everyone knows it; everyone is too scared to say it.”
He added: “Thank god Damian Green isn’t deputy Prime Minister anymore.”
Green was forced out of the Cabinet in December after he breached the ministerial code by making false statements about a stash of porn found on his work laptop in 2008.
A Cabinet Office probe also said allegations he made inappropriate sexual advances towards a female journalist were “plausible”.