Brexit committee clashes with Govt on ‘no deal’ scenario

The House of Commons Brexit committee has questioned the Government’s claim that “no deal is better than a bad deal” and argued in a new white paper that an economic and legal assessment needs to be done on the possible outcome.

Brexit Secretary David Davis told the committee in March that no assessment of the implications of no deal had been done since before last June’s referendum.

Davis confirmed that if the UK were to fall back on trading under WTO rules it would face tariffs, including up to 40 per cent on some agricultural products, and customs checks, including between North Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Passporting rights would also end for the financial services sector.

Exiting the EU Committee chair Hilary Benn, commenting on the release of the report today, says the claim by Theresa May that the UK could be better off under no deal is “unsubstantiated”.

“The public and Parliament have a right to the maximum possible information about the impact of the different future trading options being considered,” Benn says, adding that MPs will need the maximum possible information when they vote on a proposed deal.

Alongside trade, the white paper covers the timescale of negotiations, potential exit payments, immigration, devolved administrations and Gibraltar, an issue that allows Spain to veto any potential Brexit deal.

The report was contentious for some pro-Brexit committee members, who walked out of a private meeting where it was finalised because they thought it was too “gloomy”, the BBC reports.