Liam Fox MP on Question Time: 'I'm embarrassed by pro-EU Treasury…
LAST night’s episode of Question Time saw Liam Fox MP tell the audience he was “embarrassed” at some of the pro-EU arguments being made by a Government he campaigned to get elected.
The Treasury released a report this week stating that UK households would be £4,300 worse-off annually if Britain leaves the EU, but the North Somerset MP labelled the findings “cringingly inept”, saying it was a “manipulation” of the figures.
“Let’s be very frank and honest,” said the senior Conservative.
“All politicians will use negative campaigning at some point if it suits them. But if you are going to do it, you have to be decent about it.
“The thing about the report the Treasury released this week was that it was cringingly inept and I was embarrassed that it came out of a Treasury which I helped get elected.
“I think Gordon Brown would have blushed at the manipulation of data that was in this report,” he added.
Question Time presenter David Dimbleby asks Liam Fox MP a question.
The former defence secretary, who has been one of the fiercest advocates for so-called ‘Brexit’, said Treasury officials had “invented” the economic measure of “GDP per household” which they based their warnings of a slow down in UK growth.
“They invented this figure,” continued Dr Fox.
“It’s never used anywhere else in Government – it is never used in the Budget or anywhere else.”
Dr Fox said the fine print in the Treasury’s calculations showed that it was based on the expectation of three million migrants coming into the country within the next 14 years – “which of course blows apart Conservative election pledges” – and would require Chancellor George Osborne’s financial predictions to be correct for “60 consecutive quarters”.
Thursday evening’s episode of Question Time was held in Exeter.
“And remember today we found out that we didn’t get our prediction correct from October last year,” he continued.
“This seems to me a lot for us to swallow, and frankly, it was an incredible assessment.”
After the outburst against his own side, a member of the Exeter audience asked Dr Fox how he could continue to work for a Government and Chancellor who he believed to be “inept”.
Dr Fox replied saying: “I said the report was inept, not the Chancellor.
“We are not going to all be identikit politicians, that’s not what the public want.”
Lord Paddy Ashdown, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, said the public did not need to listen to Treasury figures when they had a whole host of internationally recognised groups and economists warning of the dangers of Brexit, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and the Governor of the Bank of England.
The ex-Yeovil MP said those calling for the electorate to vote to leave did not have a single reputable international group backing them up – a point not refuted by any of the anti-EU panelists on the BBC programme.
Other panellists on the BBC political programme included Tim Martin, owner of the pub chain JD Weatherspoon, pro-Brexit Labour MP Kate Hoey, and Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood.