Former Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan has urged the Treasury to clarify its position on tariff policy in the event of a no-deal Brexit following reports that up to 90 per cent could be slashed.
Morgan, who chairs the Treasury Select Committee, wrote to Philip Hammond today to demand he state whether the lowering of tariffs was current Treasury policy, as “such a reduction would represent one of the largest liberalisations of trade policy in British history”.
She said MPs needed to be provided with an update to the department’s previous economic analysis on tariffs so that they wouldn’t be expected to “vote blindly” on Theresa May’s Brexit deal next week, which, if rejected, will be followed by a vote on whether MPs want to rule out no deal.
On Tuesday Sky News reported that the UK intended to cut 80-90 per cent of all tariffs on imported goods if it leaves the EU without a deal.
Morgan said: “MPs should not have to read reports in the press that the Government is planning to slash tariffs on almost all imported goods. This is likely to have a significant impact on different business sectors and regions in the UK economy.
“When MPs decide which voting lobby to walk through next week for the meaningful vote, one of the roles of select committees is to ensure that they are doing so with as much information as possible."
She added: “At present, MPs are expected to vote blindly next week without this information.
“As the chancellor has rightly told the Treasury Committee, the maximum amount of analysis should be put in the public domain when a deal is put before Parliament. The chancellor should stick to his word and provide this information to the committee, which we will publish, prior to next week’s vote.”