Sajid Javid has said he was not sure how much a no-deal Brexit would cost the economy in the short term, leading to the SNP to claim that the Tory Government’s was “indifferent” to the potential damage it could cause in Scotland.
The Chancellor aappeared uncertain as to how the UK will leave the EU on October 31 but said he thinks he knows how the Prime Minister intends to achieve it.
The Benn Act was rushed through Parliament to require the Prime Minister to seek a delay to Brexit if a deal has not been agreed by October 19, or if MPs have not agreed to leave the EU without one.
But there have been suspicions in pro-EU circles that the Prime Minister will try to avoid complying with the requirements.
“Of course, every government should observe all laws at all times,” Mr Javid said.
“We’re taking a careful look at that law. But we’re also very clear that our policy has not changed. We will leave on October 31.”
When asked by the BBC how much a no-deal Brexit would cost the economy in the short term, Mr Javid said: “I don’t think anyone really knows a full proper answer to that question.
“And I have never pretended that if you leave without a deal it won’t be challenging.”
Threat of recession
The SNP pointed to recent economic findings that found a no-deal exit could hit Scotland’s economy to the tune of £9bn and threaten to plunge the UK into recession.
Kirsty Blackman, the party’s economy spokeswoman, said: “Sajid Javid’s comments emphasise the Tory government’s reckless Brexit at any cost plans that will be catastrophic for Scotland’s economy, jobs and public services.
“The Chancellor’s remarks are even more staggering given the Tory government’s very own Yellowhammer documents expose just how damaging crashing out of the EU without a deal would be – warning of food price rises, reduced medicine supplies, and low income families being disproportionately hit.
“Economic analysis has time and time again shown that crashing out of the EU without a deal would be damaging for the economy, could plunge the UK into recession, cost thousands of jobs and hit our public services. That is a price that Scotland must not be made to pay and Sajid Javid’s comments highlights the indifference at the heart of this Tory government.
“People are looking on in horror at the chaos consuming Westminster. It is clearer than ever that the only way to properly protect Scotland’s interests is by becoming an independent country.
“In the coming election, the SNP will put Scotland’s opposition to Brexit - and our democratic right to choose our own future as an independent country - at the heart of that contest.”