Sajid Javid's Refusal To Do Economic Assessment Of Johnson's Deal Is "Inexcusable", Labour Peer Says

22 October 2019, 15:13

Labour Peer Stewart Wood said it was "astonishing" that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has refused to do an economic assessment of Johnson's Brexit deal when this is "unbelievably major" legislation.

"There is nothing else in peacetime Britain that comes close to the transformation this is going to bring about."

He continues: "It is extraordinary that a Chancellor can write back and say, 'I'm sorry, I'm not going to do an assessment of this.' I mean, it's just astonishing. I don't understand why a Chancellor of the Exchequer would volunteer to opt out of any analysis and any contribution to something as major as this."

Shelagh asked: "Would you go as far as to say it is a dereliction of duty on the part of the Chancellor?"

Wood replied: "It is at the very least extraordinary. The only explanation for it is the Boris Johnson's cabinet has been told essentially to sit on their hands, whatever their day job is, sit on their hands and just try to cram this through Parliament the next three days.

"And that leads to the spectacle of a Chancellor of the Exchequer refusing to be Chancellor of the Exchequer when it comes to Brexit. And I find that astonishing, absolutely astonishing.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer will not be economically assessing the deal
The Chancellor of the Exchequer will not be economically assessing the deal. Picture: PA

Shelagh said people listening might ask who Baron Wood is and why is he saying this when members of the public may want the deal done.

Wood said: "I mean, I voted remain on very passionately pro-European. My side lost the referendum and my personal view is I don't think it's right to have a second referendum.

"But what I do think is right to do is to make sure that the Brexit that people voted for is done in a way that doesn't inflate both growth economic harm in our country and also constitutional division that will be lasting and this is the Northern Ireland problem. It's a combination of economic and constitutional carnage that is in danger of being created.

Wood said he was not trying to stop Brexit, but "with something so important you have to take time."

"But there has to be, when the detail finally emerges as it did this morning, there has to be a proper consideration of it.

"And that's what the government has told us they're not going to do and I think that is inexcusable, whatever your view on Brexit."