Liam Fox under fire after tweet appears to criticise Treasury Brexit forecasts

Posted On: 
14th November 2017

Pro-EU campaigners are calling for a Cabinet Office investigation after Liam Fox's department appeared to criticise official government forecasts.

Labour MP and prominent anti-Brexit campaigner Chuka Umunna swiftly took to Twitter to question the “total shambles”.

The Department for International Trade Twitter account posted a link to a Daily Mail article about a report from pro-Brexit group Economists for Free Trade, which played up the economic benefits of Brexit.

Included in the article were comments ahead of a launch event this lunchtime from eurosceptic Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg in which he said Treasury work was flawed.

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“It (the Office for Budget Responsibility) does its work worthily and reputably, but on the basis of false assumptions given to it by the Treasury,” he said.

Although the original tweet was deleted, the department was condemned for using official Government communications channels to promote work criticising itself.

Labour MP and prominent anti-Brexit campaigner Chuka Umunna swiftly took to Twitter to question what he called “total shambles”.

He also called for the Dr Fox to be investigated, describing the tweet as a "breach of the Civil Service Code".

“This is surely a breach of the Civil Service Code, which requires officials to practice ‘objectivity’ in everything they do," he fumed.

"The Cabinet Secretary must urgently investigate potential breaches of the Civil Service Code and the Ministerial Code."

Former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron also piled in, saying Dr Fox was "living in cloud cuckoo land" if he expects £135bn after Brexit.

"This group who created this report are backed by Jacob Rees-Mogg and that tells you everything you need to know about them. What is shocking is that a government department would help push this discredited rubbish.

"All this shows how far Brexiters are prepared to go in attacking their own government to get their version of extreme Brexit.  This all shows how dysfunctional the Brexit process has become."

A spokesman for the department told PoliticsHome: “It was a genuine mistake and as soon as we realised we deleted the tweet."