Fianna Fáil’s Brexit spokesperson, Stephen Donnelly TD, has described a leaked Brexit report as a damning indictment of the British Government’s stance on Brexit.
While there is on-going uncertainty as to exactly how far the British Government wants to distance itself from the EU post-Brexit, they have reaffirmed their desire to leave both the single market and the customs union.
The highly confidential report was being shown to British cabinet ministers individually, and then only the parts of the report that affected their briefs. However, while the full report is not yet in the public domain, details have been leaked.
The report estimates the economic damage to various parts of the United Kingdom due to three different Brexit scenarios: Staying in the single market; striking a free trade deal (the preferred option of the British Government); Leaving with no trade deal.
The report shows that the damage due to Brexit would be worst in the parts of England that voted most strongly to leave the EU. But everywhere would be damaged.
Speaking in Leinster House earlier today, Donnelly stated, “The British Government estimates that Northern Ireland would be the worst affected part of the UK. Under the preferred British option, a free trade deal with the EU, the six counties would see an 8% drop in economic output. That means thousands upon thousands of job losses. It would mean stresses on public services at exactly the same time as the UK’s tax take would fall. And the report assumes no hard border. But the British Government has not been able to provide a solution to an open border should then leave the customs union and single market.
“The British people did not vote to leave the customs union or single market. And yet that is where they are being taken, by a relatively small group on hard line Brexiteers. This report shows just how much damage that would do to the UK. It has the potential to cause similar damage across the island of Ireland.
“As talks progress this year, it is essential the EU gets absolute clarity, in a legally binding and enforceable agreement, on full alignment of the economies of Northern Ireland and the Republic. No border of any kind can be tolerated.”