The Cabinet ministers navigating the UK through the Brexit process – Liam Fox, David Davis and Boris Johnson – are like “three blind mice” leading the country to financial ruin, a former Tory minister has said.
Fundamentalist Brexit enthusiasts have been wrongly emboldened by the initial resilience of the British economy and are now guiding the nation towards financial “catastrophe”, according to Nick Herbert, former leader of the Remain campaign.
Mr Herbert said although he agreed the UK must now leave the EU, the hard line Brexiteers making decisions were not to be trusted.
The Conservative MP’s comments were published on the day Theresa May announced her support for a hard Brexit. She also said the negotiations to leave the EU would begin by the end of March.
Opening the Conservative conference in Birmingham on Sunday, Ms May emphasised the importance of immigration control – dashing the hopes of some Conservative MPs that she would put her efforts into negotiating access to the single market.
Writing for The Guardian, Mr Herbert said it was "staggering" how naive Brexit leaders were being about the ease of striking new trade deals.
“Conservatives must beware Brexit fundamentalism, or giving themselves up to a romanticised 1950s vision of Britain, a country of imperialist chauvinism.”
What experts have said about Brexit
What experts have said about Brexit
1/11 Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond
The Chancellor claims London can still be a world financial hub despite Brexit “One of Britain’s great strengths is the ability to offer and aggregate all of the services the global financial services industry needs” “This has not changed as a result of the EU referendum and I will do everything I can to ensure the City of London retains its position as the world’s leading international financial centre.”
2/11 Yanis Varoufakis
Greece's former finance minister compared the UK relations with the EU bloc with a well-known song by the Eagles: “You can check out any time you like, as the Hotel California song says, but you can't really leave. The proof is Theresa May has not even dared to trigger Article 50. It's like Harrison Ford going into Indiana Jones' castle and the path behind him fragmenting. You can get in, but getting out is not at all clear”
3/11 Michael O’Leary
Ryanair boss says UK will be ‘screwed’ by EU in Brexit trade deals: “I have no faith in the politicians in London going on about how ‘the world will want to trade with us’. The world will want to screw you – that's what happens in trade talks,” he said. “They have no interest in giving the UK a deal on trade”
4/11 Tim Martin
JD Wetherspoon's chairman has said claims that the UK would see serious economic consequences from a Brexit vote were "lurid" and wrong: “We were told it would be Armageddon from the OECD, from the IMF, David Cameron, the chancellor and President Obama who were predicting locusts in the fields and tidal waves in the North Sea"
5/11 Mark Carney
Governor of Bank of England is 'serene' about Bank of England's Brexit stance: “I am absolutely serene about the … judgments made both by the MPC and the FPC”
6/11 Christine Lagarde
IMF chief urges quick Brexit to reduce economic uncertainty: “We want to see clarity sooner rather than later because we think that a lack of clarity feeds uncertainty, which itself undermines investment appetites and decision making”
7/11 Inga Beale
Lloyd’s chief executive says Brexit is a major issue: "Clearly the UK's referendum on its EU membership is a major issue for us to deal with and we are now focusing our attention on having in place the plans that will ensure Lloyd's continues trading across Europe”
8/11 Colm Kelleher
President of US bank Morgan Stanley says City of London ‘will suffer’ as result of the EU referendum: “I do believe, and I said prior to the referendum, that the City of London will suffer as result of Brexit. The issue is how much”
9/11 Richard Branson
Virgin founder believes we've lost a THIRD of our value because of Brexit and cancelled a deal worth 3,000 jobs: We're not any worse than anybody else, but I suspect we've lost a third of our value which is dreadful for people in the workplace.' He continued: "We were about to do a very big deal, we cancelled that deal, that would have involved 3,000 jobs, and that’s happening all over the country"
10/11 Barack Obama
US President believes Britain was wrong to vote to leave the EU: "It is absolutely true that I believed pre-Brexit vote and continue to believe post-Brexit vote that the world benefited enormously from the United Kingdom's participation in the EU. We are fully supportive of a process that is as little disruptive as possible so that people around the world can continue to benefit from economic growth"
11/11 Kristin Forbes
American economist and an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England argues that the economy had been “less stormy than many expected” following the shock referendum result: “For now…the economy is experiencing some chop, but no tsunami. The adverse winds could quickly pick up – and merit a stronger policy response. But recently they have shifted to a more favourable direction”
He added: “The so-called ‘three Brexiteers’ have so far rather more resembled three blind mice, stumbling around the world’s capitals with inconsistent messages, united only in their assurance that it will be all right on the night.”
In a speech laden with jokes at the Conservative Party conference, Mr Johnson poked fun at the “gloomadon-poppers” who continued to predict a grim future for the UK after it left the EU.
A fringe event to the Conservative conference hosted around 80 pro-EU Tories vowing to be the “resistance” against the “total recklessness” of a “harsh Brexit”.
It is feared Ms May’s announcement will wrench open divisions within the Tory Party already in existence prior to the referendum.Reuse content