Chancellor Philip Hammond defended the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal this morning, claiming it comes at a very small economic cost.
Hammond also warned that a no-deal Brexit would be far more expensive than the withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May.
May’s deal faces a crucial vote in parliament on 11 December, and Hammond warned the UK would enter “uncharted political territory” if MPs vote to reject it.
He also said that Brexit would have only a small economic impact under May’s deal
“If you look at this purely from a economic point of view there will be a cost to our leaving the European Union because there will be impediments to our trade,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.
“What the Prime Minister’s deal does is absolutely minimise those costs. And reduces to an absolute minimum the [economic] impact of leaving the EU while delivering us the political benefits in being able to do third country trade deals and take control of our fishing waters.”
He said the economic cost would be felt after 15 years.
The chancellor also told Sky News that the government will not publish the full legal advice it obtained on the Irish border backstop proposal covered in May’s deal, which the EU rubber stamped over the weekend.
Only a summary will be released, despite critics claiming that keeping it private is unconstitutional.
Pushed on what could happen in the event that parliament voted down May’s deal next month, Hammond told the BBC that the cabinet would have to weigh up its options, including a European Free Trade Association model.
“All of the other options have disadvantages and we have to look not only at the economy but also the need to heal a fractured nation,” he said.
“We have to go forward after this process as a naiton that is coming back together. We will not be successful if we remain a nation that is divided and fractured on this issue. It is so important that we have a solution that represents that compromise.”