Amber Rudd has struck back at Jacob Rees-Mogg, a fellow Tory, and his claims that the Treasury “fiddled figures” in relation to the possible economic effect of Brexit.
The home secretary said that the claims were a “surprise” and “wrong.”
“I’m very surprised at Jacob because he is famously courteous, famously thoughtful, articulate. So I’m very surprised that he’s used that language. I think that they are wrong, he is wrong here, and this document that he’s particularly referring to is not a Treasury document anyway,” said Rudd, talking on the Andrew Marr show of the BBC.
Last week, forecasts regarding the effect of Brexit were leaked. The said leaks indicated that the economy of the United Kingdom would improve at a slower rate after Britain withdraws from the European Union. A vocal supporter and backbencher of Brexit, Rees-Mogg, accused civil servants of attempting to undermine the Brexit process.
Rudd, referring to the economic modeling, stated: “It’s prepared across different departments, and it’s a tool, it’s a tool for informing those of us who are on the EU subcommittee about the choices that are going to be made. It’s not about projecting one way or another. So I think they’re wrong.
“The UK government has to have forecasts in order to make certain decisions. Sometimes they’re wrong, but sometimes they’re wrong by degree, they’re still right about the direction it’s taking.”
Rudd continued: “We have to approach them with a certain amount of cynicism, but they help inform the debate and the decisions we make.”
Gus O’Donnell, the former head of the civil service, also struck back at the claims of Rees-Mogg.
“…if you’re selling snake oil you don’t like the idea of experts and testing your product, and I think that’s what we’ve got, this backlash against evidence and experts is because they know where the experts will go,” said O’Donnell, talking in ITV’s Peston on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Rudd also reiterated the desire of the government of the United Kingdom for a bespoke trade deal in which there will be no “Irish border gate,” “frictionless” trade, and that the United Kingdom can agree to its own deals outside of the European Union.
This week, Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, will hold a meeting of her top ministers in order to thrash out the Brexit talks in more detail amid the worsening split in her party with regards to Brexit.
Rudd asserted that it would still have a “battle” with the European Union over a bespoke deal that gives the United Kingdom its three demands.
She stated: “Frictionless” trade with the EU is widely seen as only possible if there is a customs union, something that would rule out deals with other countries, But, without such an agreement with the EU, there would be an issue over the Irish border.
“We know they’re [problems] there. That’s why we’ve said that we want to have a bespoke agreement. Now, we’re not going to surrender before we’ve had that battle. We’re going to be having those discussions this week in our committee cabinet,” said Rudd, in an effort to paper over a rift in the cabinet.
On Sunday, Dominic Raab, the Junior housing minister, said that the United Kingdom would withdraw from the customs union. However, he said that there would likely be “some customs arrangement dealing.”