but the government will not admit it.
It was almost inevitable that Mrs May would delegate this embarrassing matter to a subordinate, not the Chancellor, but a junior minister at the Treasury. Mel Stride responded with a comparison of the May-Barnier deal with "no deal", a comparison we have heard virtually daily from Mrs May herself, but not the answer to the question Mr Blackford put. The Speaker gently rebuked Mr Blackford for turning what should have been a follow-up question into an oration, but the SNP leader's verbosity was understandable in that he put on record the basis for his concerns:
The specific question I asked was about the economic analysis that the Government have done on their deal. It is quite clear from the Minister’s answer that the Government have done no analysis on this deal. [...] Economists are clear: the Prime Minister’s deal is set to hit GDP, the public finances and living standards. Analysis published by the London School of Economics estimates that
“the Brexit deal could reduce UK GDP per capita by between 1.9% and 5.5% in ten years’ time, compared to remaining in the EU.”
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research has warned that “if the government’s proposed Brexit deal is implemented, then GDP in the longer term will be around 4 per cent lower than it would have been had the UK stayed in the EU.”
Bank of England analysis states the UK Government’s deal will raise unemployment by 4% and inflation by 2%.
The Government cannot claim that their November document covers their deal. Let us look at the facts. Page 17 of the Treasury analysis looks at the modelled average free trade agreement and states:
“As such, it does not seek to define or model a bespoke agreement.”
But the Prime Minister tells us she has a bespoke deal. The Treasury analysis continues:
“This scenario is not indicative of government policy, as it would not meet UK objectives including avoiding a hard border” in Northern Ireland.
There we have it in black and white: the Treasury analysis conducted last year does not account for the Prime Minister’s deal. So, I say to the Government, where is the analysis? MPs continue to be expected to vote on the proposed deal without the Government explaining the economic consequences. That is the height of irresponsibility.
The rest of the session was disappointing as the minister stonewalled effectively and few honourable members made sufficiently forensic enquiries.