Davis accused of misleading parliament over Brexit impact studies

David Davis impact papers

Impact assessment of Brexit on the UK 'don't exist'

Brexit Secretary David Davis told a House of Commons committee on Wednesday that the nation should be prepared for a profound shift in the way the economy operates on a scale similar to that of the 2008 financial crisis.

Last week, Mr Davis gave the committee 850 pages of what he terms "sectoral analyses" but no forecasts of the Brexit impact.

David Davis says Brexit impact papers on individual sectors do not exist.

The SNP MP Joanna Cherry, also on the committee, suggested that Davis had misled parliament over the existence of the impact assessments, describing the situation as "pretty serious".

The government has been under intense pressure to release its impact assessments on Brexit since a Labour motion demanding their publication was passed unanimously in October; Conservative MPs opted not to vote.

"The assessment of that effect is not as straightforward as people imagine".

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Asked why he had failed to clarify the difference months ago, he said he had always used the phrase "sectoral analysis" - but accepted that he should have corrected MPs earlier. "I am not a fan of economic models because they have all proven wrong".

"Ministers must now urgently undertake these impact assessments and ensure people are given the facts". "We will at some stage - and some of this has been initiated - do the best we can to quantify the effect of different negotiating outcomes as we come up to them".

"One of the reasons for the concern about the city is that we need to protect the tax revenue base there, because it's very very large and those calculations will only be possible when we know what the range of options are, whether it's alignment... mutual recognition of a different sort or whether it's complete convergence".

"Similarly, what we are dealing with here in every outcome - whether it is a free trade agreement, whether it is a WTO outcome or whether it is something between that on the spectrum - it is a paradigm change".

Mr Davis has already risked stoking tensions inside his Conservative party by suggesting that some forms of regulatory alignment with the European Union may be possible after the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

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