Saturday 24 August 2019

Nigel Lawson on leaving the EU without a deal

I am very behind with this blog. This is a letter in the Spectator of 1 August from Lord Lawson, who said privately 2 years ago that Brexit would be followed by economic problems for two or three years which is why he wanted an election in 2017.
Last week’s lead article (‘Boris begins’, 27 July) suggested that if we leave without a deal, ‘the Johnson government will have another huge challenge on its hands — how to avert large-scale economic damage’. I have some experience of the conduct of economic policy, and I hope you will forgive me for saying that this is poppycock.

Leaving the EU without a trade deal will cause some short-term disruption, but the essence of good government is to do what is best for the medium and long term, whatever the short-term difficulties. And although the main purpose of Brexit is political — i.e. self-government — the economic consequences will be hugely positive, not least through regaining our regulatory autonomy. It should be clear to the meanest intelligence that if there were any economic case for EU membership, the EU (an overtly political project) would not be the world’s economic basket-case, which it is.

Nigel Lawson

London SW1

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