Davis says no Brexit impact assessments carried out


The U.K. Cabinet chose to leave the European Union's customs union without first undertaking a quantitative assessment of the impact of such a decision, Brexit Secretary David Davis said.

Speaking to the Brexit committee in parliament, Davis said that "there's no sort of systematic impact assessment".

Mr Benn described the decision not to conduct impact assessment as "rather strange" when ministers were hoping within weeks to enter into a fundamental renegotiation of Britain's trade relations with the rest of Europe.

But he said on Wednesday that they had never been "impact assessments" in the technical sense of the phrase: "Just because you use the word impact doesn't make it an impact assessment".

He said that there are formal definitions of impact assessments and the work done by the government does not fit those definitions.

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Speaking about the sectoral analysis that had been carried out, Davis said that he was handed two chapters of an 850-page report, but didn't read them.

"You don't need to do a formal impact assessment to understand that if there is a regulatory hurdle between our products and a market it will have an impact", he said.

"It will have an effect, the assessment of that effect is not as straightforward as people imagine".

Davis told MPs that he is "not a fan" of economic models. When you have a paradigm change as in 2008, all the models are wrong. "Without hindering our negotiating position and without compromising commercial confidentially or sensitivity".

"The free trade agreements carried out by the European Union have not been particularly beneficial to the United Kingdom", he said.

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That echoed comments in early November from Robin Walker, a junior Dexeu minister, who tried to explain that the sectoral analysis was "not a series of 58 economic impact assessments".

"We know not the size, but the order of magnitude of the impact", he added.

"Whether it's through incompetence or insincerity, David Davis has been misleading Parliament from the start".

Mr Davis was questioned by the cross-party committee.

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