International trade secretary, Liam Fox, has said a no-deal Brexit would not be a “disaster” for Britain, but would also not be a “walk in the park”.
Offering his lukewarm support for Theresa May’s deal, he said it offered the right “balance” , but added he did not “for a second pretend to be enthusiastic” about the backstop – put in place as an insurance policy to prevent a hard border in Ireland.”
Asked about a recent analysis from both the Bank of England and the Treasury, the cabinet minister said: “I think the reaction to some of the Treasury analysis has been completely overblown… I think people have not understood, and I have to say the media have been somewhat responsible for this, they didn’t understand the difference between forecasts and scenarios and they are fundamentally different.
On the Bank of England’s worst-case scenarios of a no-deal Brexit – claiming house prices could drop by over a third, and the economy shrink – he added: “I don’t agree with some of the ways in which the picture has been calculated, but as I say, those who were making these scenarios were very clear they were not forecasts.
When asked about the prospect of the deal passing Parliament when MPs are asked to vote on 11 December, Mr Fox told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think the Prime Minister is changing public mood; if you look at what is happening with polling there’s clearly a shift there.”
Pressed that it was MPs who Mrs May needed to convince, he replied: “Members of Parliament need to make decisions for themselves, but they have to compare this particular deal against the alternatives.
“Those who don’t want us to leave the EU without a deal need to consider that this would increase the chance of that.”