Brexit secretary David Davis: We're just totting up how much it will cost if we don't agree a deal with the EU

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David Davis Warns Remaining In The EU Will Damage British Jobs
Brexit secretary David Davis said the figures banded round during referendum campaigning were not "very robust" (Source: Getty)

The government does not know the economic impact on the UK of a "no deal" Brexit, David Davis told MPs this morning.

Responding to questions from the exiting the EU committee, Brexit secretary Davis admitted the government has not totted up how much it will cost the country if the UK fails to agree a new trade accord with the EU.

The last calculation made was during the referendum campaign, Davis said. But such an analysis had been proven to be not “very robust”.

Read more: Davis warns MPs not to tie PM's hands ahead of historic debate

Responding to questions from committee chair Hilary Benn, Davis said the government is in the process of getting every state department to do their own review of the costs of failing to agree a deal.

“Much of this is about mitigation," he said.

"Any forecast that you make depends on the mitigation you undertake. And as a result it is rather otiose to make a forecast before you’ve decided what mitigation is possible."

When we’ve finished making the Lego blocks, we’ll make the house.

"Not a good an outcome as a free trade"

Davis was also quizzed on his personal views on whether the government should ensure it comes to an agreement with the EU as part of Brexit negotiations, negating costly tariff barriers that could otherwise be put in place.

“I think it’s a not a good an outcome as a free trade, friction-free, open agreement," he said.

Read more: Ministers planning for “all possible outcomes” of Brexit talks, says Davis

Davis said the government's Brexit bill is due to receive Royal Assent tomorrow and brushed off questions from the committee that the triggering of Article 50 had been delayed, instead remarking there was "no rush" before the 31 March deadline.

Financial services passporting rights will cease to exist in a situation where the government cannot agree terms with European authorities, the Brexit secretary added.

However, Davis told MPs that EU lead negotiator Michel Barnier is aware that coming to an agreement over financial services is critical or else there is "danger to the whole entity of fractures".

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