Angry Tory MPs round on Osborne over EU Treasury analysis
Furious eurosceptic Tory MPs have lambasted George Osborne after he launched a Treasury analysis claiming that the UK would be “permanently poorer” outside of the EU.
The Chancellor this morning unveiled a cost-benefit study by the Treasury that claimed Brexit would cost the UK the equivalent of £4,300 per household per year by 2030.
Tory MPs opposed to remaining in the bloc were quick to challenge the report’s validity, with energy minister Andrea Leadsom branding the analysis “unfair and biased” and "crystal-ball gazing".
“This Treasury report is extraordinary. For a start, it is only looking at one issue, which is their thesis on what happens if we leave. A Treasury report that is a genuine choice for the people should look at the impact if we remain,” she told the Guardian.
“If remain campaigners insist on talking down the economy then it becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. That it is an unpatriotic thing to do.”
Vote Leave, the official Brexit campaign, has already dismissed the Treasury’s numbers as “erroneous”.
Tory MP Bernard Jenkin, meanwhile, said the Chancellor “should be ashamed of himself” for issuing the document ahead of the referendum.
He also questioned whether the public should take heed of the Treasury’s views on the EU, citing revised growth figures and missed deficit targets.
"This Chancellor... forecasted originally in 2010 that we were going to balance the Budget by 2015. Well, we’re still borrowing billions and billions of pounds a year. So his forecasts are not reliable," he told Sky News.
He added: “The British economy will become much more dynamic if we’re released from the prison of the European Union and really it’s an abuse of the Chancellor to use his officials for propagandist tactics like this.
“He would never be allowed to issue a forecast like this before a general election and this is an abuse of the fair rules for a referendum and he should be ashamed of himself.”
Former defence secretary Liam Fox also weighed in, telling BBC News: “Some of these more incredible statements being made don’t actually help the Remain campaign because I think it makes them look less credible – and I think the Treasury itself needs to worry about its own credibility.”
Tory MP John Redwood dismissed as “absurd” and “completely worthless” the claims made in the Treasury’s analysis.
“I’m very sorry that they’ve degenerated to these levels,” he told the Today programme.
“This is a Treasury which had to make huge changes to its forecast for the next two years just between November and March because it decided its November forecast was completely wrong.
“This is a Treasury which failed to forecast the huge damage membership of the Exchange Rate Mechanism inflicted on us and they were always very keen to join and it gave us a huge recession. They failed to forecast the damage to the UK from the eurozone crisis of 2011. We will be better off out, we will be richer and more successful, but it’s not very easy to put precise numbers on it and we wouldn’t attempt to put precise numbers on the economy for 2030 because who knows what’s going to happen.”
Following Mr Osborne’s appearance on Radio 4 this morning, Ukip leader Nigel Farage branded the Chancellor an “EU fanatic”.
The Chancellor did receive support from some corners of the Conservative party however.
Damian Collins praised the “comprehensive analysis”, while ministers Liz Truss, Amber Rudd and Stephen Crabb flanked Mr Osborne when he unveiled the figures this morning.