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Many Britons would rather be poorer than remaining in the EU

 
 
 
 
 
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Amid soaring pressure on Theresa May, a memo has emerged claiming that if Brexit happens, the UK economy’s growth will slow down whatever the deal is. Sputnik has discussed the potential impact of the leak on Brexit talks with Mark Garnett, a politics professor at Lancaster University and author of “From Anger to Apathy: The British Experience.”

Sputnik: This is the information [analytical data on Brexit and its possible outcomes] that is being gathered by the government for the purpose of making decisions regarding Brexit going forward. If it’s bad information, why is this being provided to the government?

Mark Garnett: You can understand why the government has asked experts to give some kind of guess about the various, different ways, because of course the debate has become so complicated now because there are so many different ways in which the Brexit could evolve. So, the government has wanted to be informed about what would happen in certain cases.

So, you can see why they’ve done this, but at the same time, I think the civil service have always thought that Britain was going to be worse off if we left the European Union, and in a way the debate over the referendum showed that people were more bothered about who makes decisions concerning Britain, that in fact there are a lot of people who would not mind if Britain was a bit worse off if it was still free, perhaps, to take its own decisions.

People knew that it was a big risk if we voted to leave the EU. And this is just another sign, I think, that the risk is more likely than not to result in bad news for the country. So, in a way it doesn’t change the debate very much but it does, I think, show that the government is on a course which is actually against the best advice that it can get from its own officials.

And you can see how ludicrous that is that the Prime Minister knows that with every chance of what she is doing is going to be economically damaging for the country and that she is bounded tight by the referendum results and can’t do anything to avoid doing something which she knows is going to probably be economically damaging.

Sputnik: Theresa May also said that it would be wrong to publish any of this official analysis because it could prejudice the negotiations. Do you think that the documents could have any impact on the negotiations?

Mark Garnett: I think in the European Union this document will change nothing, because the European Union knows already that the likely event, the likely result will be damage to Britain.

Also, of course, it will be likely to damage the economic growth of the European Union. So, it’s the situation the European Union is just looking at with a certain amount of despair but in the end they think that Britain will be damaged more than the EU.

Sputnik: What will the impact of this leak and the further publication, if that is the case, mean for Brexit and for the UK?

Mark Garnett: Things are very difficult for the Prime Minister. She is away. That doesn’t make things more difficult. There are rumors that there will be a move against her and this will not help.

In part, this is another thing which is going to have to be somehow managed. I don’t think it itself will push the Conservative party into forcing a leadership election, however.

It’s just another sign the opposition is very, very vulnerable. In British politics you can never expect anything, never predict anything. However, this makes it more likely than not that we will have a new prime minister within a few months.

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