Government to set out economic impact of Brexit as May fights to save deal
The Government is to set out its analysis of the economic impact of Brexit as Theresa May battles to save her deal for leaving the European Union.
Downing Street said the papers will cover a “range of scenarios” as the Prime Minister seeks to press her case the agreement represents the only way to protect jobs and investment while avoiding the chaos of a no-deal break.
She will then travel to Scotland for another day of campaigning on Wednesday as she appeals over the heads of MPs to ordinary voters to support her plan.
The Treasury analysis is expected to conclude the UK will be far better off under the terms of Mrs May’s controversial agreement with Brussels than if it faced a disorderly Brexit with a no-deal break.
Ministers have also agreed to publish their assessment of the impact on the economy if Britain were to stay in the EU, having been faced with the prospect of a damaging Commons defeat if they refused.
Ahead of her visit to Scotland, Mrs May clashed with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who released a report claiming her deal would cost people in Scotland £1,610 a year by 2030 people compared to if the UK had remained in the EU.
Ms Sturgeon said the “backstop” being put in place to prevent the return to a hard border in Ireland could leave Scotland at a “serious competitive disadvantage” to Northern Ireland.
“In short, it will make us poorer,” Ms Sturgeon said.
“No government of Scotland with the interests of this and future generations at heart could possibly accept it.”
Mrs May, who spent Tuesday campaigning in Wales and Northern Ireland, also again came under fire from Arlene Foster, the leader of the DUP who prop up her Government in the Commons and who remain resolutely opposed to the backstop plan.
Following talks between the two leaders at Stormont, Mrs Foster said the deal remains “unacceptable” in its current form and her party would not support it when it comes to the vote next month.
“The European Union will obviously say there can be no change right until the moment they accept change. Presently there is absolutely no pressure on them to shift their position because the United Kingdom isn’t even asking,” she said.
“Now is the time to accept that the Withdrawal Agreement, as it currently stands, is damaging and that the United Kingdom cannot accept it. The conversation can then begin to ensure we get a deal that works for everyone.”
While Mrs May continues to appeal directly to voters to support her plan, some questioned whether she would not have been better off remaining in Westminster trying to win over MPs who will decide whether to back the agreement in the vote on December 11.
With scores of Tory MPs having declared publicly they will vote against the deal, and Labour and the other opposition parties also firmly opposed, ministers have acknowledged the parliamentary arithmetic is “challenging”.
They are expected to use the next two weeks arguing there is no Commons majority for any of the alternative proposal being touted round Westminster and that Mrs May’s plan remains the only alternative to the chaos of a no-deal break.
Speaking in Wales, Mrs May said: “I ask every Member of Parliament to consider the national interest in doing so, to recognise the need to deliver on Brexit and to do it in a way that protects people’s jobs.
“If the deal is voted down in the House of Commons, it will lead to more division and more uncertainty.”
Earlier, Mrs May insisted the UK was working “very well” with the United States over future trade after Donald Trump suggested her Brexit plan could stop the two countries striking a deal.
During a visit to the Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Builth Wells, she said the Political Declaration on future relations with the EU meant the UK would be able to negotiate trade deals with countries around the world.
“As regards the United States, we have already been talking to them about the sort of agreement that we could have in the future,” she said.
“We have a working group set up and that is working very well, has met several times and is continuing to work with the US on this.”