Figures out this week from Boris Johnson MP’s Treasury said that businesses will face costs of £7.5 billion in the face of a no deal Brexit. These aren’t costs associated with new tariffs, these are simply costs from the UK being outside of a Customs Union and new red tape being imposed on business.
I asked the Minister who he expected would have to pay for this £7.5 billion in costs. Would it be the business having to absorb them? Would it be consumers having to pay more for goods? Or would it be employees who lose income or even jobs?
The answer from the Minister showed how much this government is flailing around with no direction or control over the cost of their actions. He said that these costs would be put on all three of the above options.
This is dangerously reckless policies towards businesses. This will mean that formerly profitable businesses will struggle, costs will increase in supply chains and the price at the checkout will rise. This is just another reason why no deal Brexit must be avoided at all costs.
A new report was published by the UK Government this week on the impacts on the UK and the UK Government’s preparedness for it.
One section that I found deeply worrying was that on security. In the document it noted that we will lose access to all security protocols in place that keep us safe. Meaning our access to information on criminals would be undermined.
The Minister decided to play the blame game instead of answering my point. What he didn’t tell you was that the UK Government has always been intent on opting out of some of the security measures currently in place because of their ideologically driven red lines. They are undermining our national security and the sooner they realise that Brexit is not an internal Conservative Party game and is a serious policy decision being made for our country the sooner we can have some grown up politics.
Before Parliament was unlawfully shut down, I voted with my colleagues to ensure the release of the Yellowhammer papers. These papers outlined the impact of a no deal Brexit upon the country.
As you know, my gravest concerns for a no deal Brexit have focused on its impacts upon our security and safety. Leaving without a deal means we lose all the security tools our police and security services use on a daily basis. Things like the European Arrest Warrant – allowing us to track down criminals who have fled the country and bring them back to face justice – EUROPOL – which allows us to share information with police forces across the EU – and SIS 2 – the border monitoring software.
In paragraph 10 of the report, which was drafted by Boris Johnson MP’s government, it notes that we will lose access to all of these and it will put us at risk. I asked the Minister responsible for no deal Brexit, Michael Gove MP, if he had made a risk assessment on this. But more importantly if he thought the risk was worth taking.
The Minister provided no solid response.
As the last Direct Rule Minister for Northern Ireland when the power sharing agreement collapsed I have long worried about the impacts of a no deal Brexit upon the peace process. A no deal will mean the construction of a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to comply with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules – which we will have no control of as this the WTO has no elections and our parliament has no control over its direction of travel.
What complicates matters even more is that Northern Ireland has been without a Legislative Assembly for over two years and shows no signs of changing. Without ministers and Members of the Legislative Assembly to take decisions locally. This means that UK ministers will have to step in to take the hourly decisions which will be needed following a no deal Brexit – which I do not want to see.
I asked the Secretary of State what action he is taking to avert this monumental mess. His answer left a lot to be desired.