- The Trade Department Twitter account posts a link to an article promoting Brexit and criticising Chancellor Philip Hammond.
- Trade Secretary Liam Fox told to explain why his department endorsed a partisan article which attacked his Cabinet colleague and the Treasury.
LONDON – Liam Fox has been urged to explain why his department tweeted a link to a report by pro-Brexit economists that criticised his colleague Chancellor Philip Hammond and the Treasury.
On Tuesday the Department for International Trade tweeted a link to an article based on claims by the Economics for Free Trade Group that Britain can look forward to gaining £135 billion as a result of leaving the European Union.
The article contained quotes from staunch Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, who accused the Treasury and Chancellor Hammond of making “false assumptions” in their forecasts for Britain’s economy after Brexit.
Conservative MP Rees-Mogg also accused the Office for Budget Responsibility of being overly-pessimistic in its forecasts. The Tory MP said the outlook for public finances is “much better” than the OBR has suggested.
The DiT has since deleted the tweet but is yet to comment on why the link had been posted.
A spokesperson for Number 10 Downing Street told the Huff Posts’ Paul Waugh: “I’m sure the Department for International Trade will explain why they deleted it.”
Labour MP Chuka Umunna was quick to react to the tweet:
Why @tradegovuk are you tweeting out a partisan, political story from a discredited group of economists using civil service resources? Why is the impartial civil service being used in this way? Explanation please https://t.co/lr1uVkNAfE
— Chuka Umunna (@ChukaUmunna) November 14, 2017
Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron accused Fox of “living in cloud cuckoo land” if he believes the report to be credible.
Farron, who is a champion of the Best For Britain group campaigning against hard Brexit, said:
“Liam Fox is living in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks that Britain can expect a £135 billion windfall post-Brexit.
“This group who created this report are backed by Jacob Rees-Mogg and that tells you everything you need to know about them. What is shocking is that a government department would help push this discredited rubbish.
“All this shows how far Brexiters are prepared to go in attacking their own government to get their version of extreme Brexit. This all shows how dysfunctional the Brexit process has become.”