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Brexit impact assessments 'don't exist', admits Davis

David Davis was quizzed at a Westminster committee over his Brexit preparations.

David Davis: The Brexit secretary said the documents are 'very useful'.
David Davis: The Brexit secretary said the documents are 'very useful'. ITV

Brexit Secretary David Davis has admitted the government has not carried out an overall assessment of the impact of Britain leaving the European Union.

Appearing in front of the Exiting the European Union Committee, Mr Davis made the admission after being asked by its chair Hilary Benn why no assessments had been submitted ahead of the session.

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

Mr Benn said: "Is the reason you have not handed over the assessments because you don't have them, is that correct?"

Mr Davis replied: "The sectoral analysis that were started back in 2016 are essentially looking at what the industries consist of, looking at the size of them in terms of revenue, capital, and employment and so on.

"Looking at their involvement in the European markets, looking at their regulatory structure and so on."

He added: "Now it's all very useful and it's the under-pinning of a lot of policy but it's not a forecast of the outcome of leaving the European Union or indeed various options there of."

Committee chair Hilary Benn asked Mr Davis to clarify what if any assessments had been carried out.
Committee chair Hilary Benn asked Mr Davis to clarify what if any assessments had been carried out.

"What we tried to do was to give you as best we could under the conditions...without undermining our negotiating position, and without compromising commercial confidentiality or market sensitive data," Mr Davis added.

Mr Benn then asked the Brexit Secretary to clarify his statement, to which he replied "there's no systemic impact assessment".

"The answer is no," Mr Benn pressed, to which Mr Davis agreed "no".

The Brexit Secretary also told MPs leaving the European bloc will lead to a "paradigm change" in the UK economy in a similar way to the 2008 financial crash.

He added that in this such circumstances any assessment of the potential impact of the change on various sectors of British industry using existing economic models would not necessarily be "informative".

"I'm not a fan of economic models because they have all proven wrong. When you have a paradigm change - as happened in 2008 with the financial crisis - all the models were wrong."

"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.

"We know not the size, but the order of magnitude of the impact," he added.

Mr Davis was questioned by the cross-party committee.
Mr Davis was questioned by the cross-party committee.

It comes as Brexit talks with EU leaders stalled earlier this week when the prime minister pulled out of a potential deal after Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party objected to a draft Irish border proposals.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has called on the EU to give an immediate green light to talks on post-Brexit trade relations, rather than insisting on waiting for a breakthrough over the Irish border.

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