The government has been labelled a “shambles” after Brexit Secretary David Davis admitted that his department had not produced any assessments of the impact of leaving the EU on the UK economy.
Davis claimed that thee usefulness of such assessments would be “near zero” because of the scale of change Brexit is likely to cause, but his lack of preparation led Labour to brand the government a “shambles” and the SNP to describe the government as an “ongoing farce”.
In response to questions at a Brexit committee hearing on Wednesday, Davis told MPs that formal impact assessments were not needed because Brexit would be a “paradigm shift” for the British economy and therefore could not be predicted. He went on to say that he did not like “economic models because they have all proven wrong”, and admitted he had not bothered to read the 850-page Brexit analysis his team produced.
The admission that the Department for Exiting the European Union (DXEU) had not produced any in-depth economic impact assessments was met with disbelief from MPs across the aisle. It directly contradicts Davis’ own claims a year ago that his department was “in the midst of carrying out about 57 sets of analyses” on various sectors of the economy.
News of the governments lack of preparation for Brexit 18 months after the vote to leave the EU comes two days after Brexit negotiations collapsed over the issue of a hard border in Ireland, with the Conservatives unable to agree on wording for the deal with their own coalition partner, Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).