Tory MP Schooled Over Real Economic Impact Of Brexit Live On Air

Tom Hunt claimed he had not seen "any evidence" the UK's departure from the EU had damaged our economy.
Tom Hunt was schooled over the real impact of Brexit on the UK's economy live on air
Tom Hunt was schooled over the real impact of Brexit on the UK's economy live on air
BBC Politics Live

Tory MP Tom Hunt’s defence of Brexit’s real impact on the UK was completely torn apart on the BBC today.

A new report from the National Audit Office said the new post-Brexit border checks – postponed no fewer than five times since the UK actually left the EU – will cost taxpayers at least £4.7billion.

But, speaking on Politics Live, Hunt said: “I haven’t seen any evidence that Brexit has had a negative impact on this economy.”

Hunt, who voted for Brexit, also listed the intense shocks the UK has faced recently, such as the war in the Ukraine and the Covid pandemic, to explain the UK’s recent difficulties.

He added: “I don’t think we’re in a position where we can say, categorically at this point is this [Brexit] a good thing or a bad thing.

“Ultimately I think in time it will prove to be a good thing, not just for our economy but for our democracy as well.”

Hunt said he thought the UK might not get everything right about Brexit straight away, but claimed he stood by his decision to leave the EU.

However, his argument was completely scuppered by the Guardian’s Rafael Behr.

Speaking from the other end of the panel, Behr said: “The OBR and the Treasury in their own budget forecast – your government, the Treasury – in their own forecast, essentially accepts a cost to GDP from having left the single market.

“If you erect trade barriers with the vast market on your doorstep, there is a cost incurred. That’s gravity, that’s not even controversial.”

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) recently revealed that the UK is still “on track” to take a 4% economic hit from Brexit.

The Labour leader in the House of Lords, Baroness Smith, also hit back at Hunt’s suggestions that the UK is still facing teething pains with Brexit.

She said: “It’s now over three years since the transition period ended, and it’s getting on for a decade since the Brexit referendum took place – and we are still arguing about pretty fundamental issues about the deal.”

She said the National Audit Office’s report was “quite damning” about the “money that has been spent and wasted”, and the government’s “incompetent” management of the transition.


What's Hot