The Express: EU will blink first! Brussels on brink of ‘caving in’ over Brexit deal

THE EU is on the point of “blinking first” in the Brexit stand-off as long as Remainer MPs do not succeed in taking the threat of no deal off the table, senior Cabinet sources claim.

The comments come ahead of crucial votes in Parliament this week where Theresa May is faced with a bitter backbench plot to seize control of the agenda in the Commons aimed at blocking no deal and forcing a second referendum on Brexit. Leading economist Professor Patrick Minford has also revealed that the stakes could not be higher as the March 29 departure day looms with Britain risking losing out on hundreds of billions of pounds in a Brexit bonus if Remainers get their way. Meanwhile, the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, held a series of talks with senior MPs last week as fears were rising on the Rock that it could be used as a bargaining chip in the renegotiation of Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement.

Meanwhile, the economic high stakes for Britain on this week’s debate have been highlighted by new analysis by Prof Minford, who was Margaret Thatcher’s favourite economist and has a long record of correctly predicting economic trends often against the prevailing wisdom of other economists.

Prof Minford said if the UK leaves the EU with a reworked deal after a transition period ending in December 2020, the economy should get an annual boost of seven per cent a year.

On current GDP levels that would be worth about £140billion each year for the UK and could help revolutionise healthcare and public services.

This is calculated on Britain being able to do free trade deals with non-EU countries worth four per cent to GDP while prices would drop by eight per cent.

That is because exports from the rest of the world would no longer pay EU protectionist tariffs. The ability to strip away EU regulations would also boost the economy by two per cent, according to Professor Minford. He also calculates that ending Britain’s budget contributions to Brussels and no longer subsidising EU unskilled labour is worth 0.6 per cent and 0.2 per cent to GDP.

There would also be a bonus for people’s pockets with the least well off in the UK seeing a 15 per cent rise in their living standards.

Prof Minford has calculated that if the UK leaves on March 29 on World Trade Organisation terms with a no deal with the EU there will be a short-term boost of £500billion to the economy.

This includes accelerating the gains from Brexit by 21 months, gains from collecting tariff revenue of about £13billion annually from the EU, and not paying the £39billion divorce payment to Brussels. He said: “The sponsors of the Cooper amendment are trying to stop Brexit via endless delay, effectively negating the Brexit referendum decision.

“That decision reflected the common-sense understanding by the British people of the economic gains from Brexit both if done after a transition period and a sensible EU trade deal and of the extra economic gains from an immediate no deal exit, getting out cleanly in March.”

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