[3rd Allotted Day]

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 12:42 pm on 6th December 2018.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 12:42 pm, 6th December 2018

I watched the hon. Lady’s contribution to the previous debate; it was interesting how her words coincided with those of Members on the Government Benches. The use of the words “best endeavours”, “ambitions” and “sought for” gave such uncertainty that it was impossible for the general public and others to understand the direction in which the Government are going in the long term. I concur with the hon. Lady’s view.

I must press on. It is not just Labour Members who are pointing out issues with the finance sector; Members from all parties are doing so, including some on the Government Benches. That view is backed up by economists of many viewpoints in their assessment of the Prime Minister’s deal—including, it seems, the Government’s own. The official analysis produced last week was far short of what was promised, as we said at the time. It took as its starting point the Chequers proposals, which have long been discarded. In doing so, it failed to live up to the standards of transparency that we should expect when engaging in critical decisions such as this.

Even in what they did publish, the Government admitted last week—as the Chancellor has again today, I believe—that their deal would make Britain worse off. In the closest scenario to the possible deal, we could see GDP nearly 4% lower as a result of the Government’s approach to Brexit. To put that in context, this year that would be around £83 billion. In the long term, the damage is likely to be even greater. Worryingly, the Chancellor described £83 billion being wiped off our economy as a “very small economic impact”. Maybe there will be many “little extras” to follow in future.