A confidential government analysis that showed the UK will be worse off under any Brexit scenario was “deliberately leaked” because it “gives a bad view”, Iain Duncan Smith has claimed.
Even if the UK is able to negotiate a comprehensive free trade agreement – as Theresa May hopes – it estimated growth would be down 5% over the next 15 years, according to the document obtained by BuzzFeed UK.
That would rise to 8% if Britain left without a deal and was forced to fall back on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
Alternatively, if the UK were to retain access to the single market through membership of the European Economic Area the loss would be just 2%.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4′s Today programme, Duncan Smith said the leak was “a little bit suspicious”.
The former Tory cabinet minister and leading Brexiteer dismissed the analysis as based on government economic models that were “highly discredited”.
“It’s deliberately leaked because it gives a bad view, we should put it on one side and leave it alone,” he said. “It’s an incomplete report.”
He said if the government got Brexit “right” then the “economy will grow, food prices will come down and particularly the poorest in society will benefit”.
Duncan Smith added: “None of us know exactly where this will end up.”
However Labour MP Chris Leslie, a member of the Open Britain group which campaigns against a “hard” Brexit, said ministers must now release the findings in full.
“No one voted to make themselves or their families worse off,” he said. “The Government must now publish their analysis in full, so that MPs and the public can see for themselves the impact that Brexit will have and judge for themselves whether it is the right thing for our country.”
Michael Gove joked on Monday evening he and Philip Hammond were “highly aligned” on the strategy for leaving the EU, amid deep splits in the party between pro-Brexit and pro-Remain MPs.
The Tory infighting spilled into the Commons chamber on Monday, with backbencher Anna Soubry demanding ministers “stand up against the hard Brexiteers” in the party.
One MP told HuffPost UK May was so weak the party was in “Lord of the Flies territory” with a total breakdown of discipline.
Johnny Mercer, a rising star on the backbenches, warned the prime minister on Monday morning that the “window is closing” on her ability to turn around her fortunes.
Meanwhile Government’s flagship Brexit bill is set to begin its passage through the House of Lords on Tuesday.
More than 190 peers are listed to speak in a marathon two-day second reading debate on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill .
While the legislation cleared the Commons last month relatively unscathed – with only one Government defeat – it is likely to face a far rougher ride in the upper chamber which is overwhelmingly opposed to Brexit.
The main battles will come in the weeks ahead when it reaches the committee stage when peers are likely to try to push through a series of major amendments.