Barry Gardiner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, commenting on today’s Times report that hard Brexit could see us revert to WTO rules and cost up to £66 billion a year:
“Once again Cabinet members are split over Brexit. Those, like Dr. Fox, who call for a ‘Hard Brexit’ seem to think it’s acceptable to jeopardise £66 billion of tax revenue in a high stakes game of chicken. They refuse to face up to the financial realities for British businesses and international trade from a failure to maintain clear access into the single market.
“Last week clarified for British exporters that market access is very much a lower priority for this government and a hard Brexit is now their preferred policy. Leaving the single market and defaulting to WTO rules would be extremely damaging for our economy and would hit the public finances.
“It is the Brexiteers who are “withdrawn from reality” if they believe otherwise. The irony is that it is these same voices who are calling for the process to be rushed forward; and this could actually prevent us from negotiating the favourable terms they assume we will be given as of right.
“When he’s not insulting our businesses Fox seems to think vague platitudes will be enough to boost exports and stimulate growth. It’s tantamount to saying: “Trust me I’m a doctor.”