David Davis: Britain will only face 'hiccups' after a no-deal Brexit

Posted On: 
8th November 2018

Britain would only face “hiccups” if it crashes out of the European Union without a deal, David Davis insisted today.

David Davis David Davis said Brits should not be "terrified" of a no-deal Brexit
Credit: 
PA Images

The former Brexit secretary admitted the UK would have to weather some “bumps in the road” in the first year of a no-deal departure, but argued people should not be “terrified” of the prospect.

He also said MPs voting to reject any deal the Prime Minister brings back from Brussels could trigger a fresh round of negotiations and an improved offer from the EU.

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Senior public figures have sounded the alarm that a no-deal Brexit could damage the economy, see house prices plummet and lead to food and medicine shortages, among other things.

But Mr Davis - who quit the Cabinet in protest at the Chequers plan for Brexit drawn up by Theresa May - rejected what he branded “scare stories”.

Appearing on the Radio 4 Today programme this morning, he said if talks did collapse “we would leave and there would be some hiccups in the first year, no doubt”.

“If there is a hostile relationship there will undoubtedly be some frictions and bumps along the way in the first year,” he added. But he insisted the public should not be “terrified” of a no-deal departure.

“We are a big country - we can look after ourselves and we will look after ourselves very well indeed once we are properly out of the European Union,” he said.

Pro-EU MPs from across the political divide piled in to condemn Mr Davis on Twitter.

Labour MP Gareth Thomas, speaking on behalf of the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign, said Mr Davis and his allies "are in cloud cuckoo land if they think a no-deal Brexit won’t cause very serious problems".

He added: "Jobs will be lost, investment delayed and our country will be weaker. His comments are one more reason why we need a People’s Vote."

Elsewhere, Mr Davis told the show that if MPs reject the deal Mrs May brings back from Brussels “it would have to go back to the European Union once more”.

“This will be a slightly different atmosphere to currently because both sides would be staring at no-deal,” he proposed.

“The Government is obviously nervous of it and the European Commission and... nearly all member states are nervous of it. So I think that would force a very very different and actually rather better deal.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock last night revealed the Government was building massive fridges to stockpile chilled medicines in case of a no-deal Brexit next March.

It comes as a Brexit deal appears closer, with Cabinet ministers invited yesterday to see copies of the Prime Minister's draft withdrawal agreement.

However, there has been pressure on the PM to publish legal advice over her plans for a ‘backstop’ to protect the Northern Ireland border in case of a no-deal departure.

Mr Davis joined the calls, arguing MPs must see the "complete" legal advice before they vote on the final deal when it comes before parliament.