A leading Brexiteer has suggested it could take 50 years to judge whether Brexit has been an economic success amid fears quitting the European Union will lead to a downturn.
The influential Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, who chairs the European Research Group of backbench Tories, was pressed by Krishnan Guru-Murthy of Channel 4 News about whether he would quit if the “economy does take a hit next year” when Brexit happens.
Rees-Mogg insisted the full impact will not be known for “years to come” as he hailed leaving the EU as the “greatest opportunity, economically, for this country”.
The Somerset MP suggested the broadcaster was asking a “simple” question about economic success or failure based on a “complex” set of circumstances, adding:
Rees-Mogg: “We will know at some point, of course we will. But it’s a question of timescale.”
Guru-Murthy: “So how long have you got?”
Rees-Mogg: “We won’t know the full economic consequences for a very long time, we really won’t.”
Guru-Murthy: “Of course not, but I mean we’ll have an indication. We’ll know if there’s been chaos, we’ll know if there have been job losses.”
Rees-Mogg: “The overwhelming opportunity for Brexit is over the next 50 years.”
The clip, for the Ways To Change The World podcast, was met largely with astonishment on social media.
Meanwhile, it was reported by the Financial Times that a second investment fund has been set up in Ireland by the City firm co-founded by Rees-Mogg after it warned earlier this year about the financial dangers of ‘hard Brexit’.
His comments came during another tense weekend for Brexit negotiations as Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab refused to deny reports the Government is planning to stockpile food in preparation for ‘no deal’ with the EU, as he claimed the UK will be ready for all eventualities.
Speaking on BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Raab also didn’t dispute claims a motorway in Kent could become a “lorry park” if stringent customs checks are implemented by the EU if no trade agreement is reached.
In another interview, Rees-Mogg said Britain is heading for a ‘no deal’ exit from the EU, insisting that leaving on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms was now likely.
Presenting a phone-in on LBC, Rees-Mogg said: “I think we are heading to WTO and I think WTO is nothing to be frightened of.”
But he said talks should continue with Brussels, stating: “I think we should carry on negotiating until the end.
“I don’t think we necessarily need the theatrics of walking away, but the truth is that WTO is likely to be all that they will offer us.”