Remainer Ken Clarke shocks as he rubbishes Project Fear ‘no deal won’t collapse economy'
However, he also insisted neither Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt believes Britain will leave the European Union without a deal at the end of October. Speaking at a lunch in Westminster, the former Chancellor told reporters he did not think the economy would collapse if Britain left on WTO terms, without a withdrawal agreement in place. He said: “We’ll have some short-term chaos if we literally have no deal, but you’re going to have to suffer short-term technical agreements to make sure your aeroplanes can take off, your medicines don’t run out, your food doesn’t run out.
“I don’t think the economy will collapse: we might have a short-term recession because the Bank of England are going to have fun dealing with confidence in sterling and so on in the immediate aftermath.”
Mr Clarke, a prominent Remain supporter, suggested the two Tory leadership contenders feel “obliged” to campaign on the basis that they would pursue a no-deal exit in the autumn.
Front-runner Mr Johnson has said he will take Britain out of the EU by October 31 “do or die”, while Mr Hunt insists he would not stick to the “arbitrary date” if a deal was in reach by then.
Mr Clarke added: “I don’t think either candidate believes leaving with no-deal makes the slightest sense at all.
“Jeremy hedges it, Boris does his usual thing of changing the way he expresses it day by day.
“He’ll make his mind up what he’ll actually do regardless of what he has said if he actually finds himself prime minister.
“And I’m sure Jeremy will start getting back common sense if he finds himself prime minister.
“Neither of them thinks we’re going to leave with no deal on October 31 – it is in all practical terms utterly impossible.”
Father of the House of Commons Mr Clarke said the events of Brexit were doing “terrible damage” to the British political institutions, amid what he called the “maddest” of situations of his political lifetime.
Mr Clarke, who has served as the MP for Rushcliffe for 49 years, said the situation was “all rather serious and it’s more of a tragic farce than anything else”.
Speaking at a lunch in Westminster, the 78-year-old continued: “When you think no more ridiculous turn events can take place, another ridiculous turn of events does take place.
“The worrying thing for someone like me is that it is doing terrible, terrible damage to the political institutions of this country.
“Politicians quite rightly are usually held with low regard.
“I’ve never known politicians in a political system held in such contempt as they are by perfectly sensible members of the public at the moment.
“And the traditional centre-right politics, centre-left politics is collapsing – as it is in the Western world. It’s a deep underlying discontent that people have lost confidence in their old, regular politicians, and regular blocs and so on.
“At the moment we are at a fairly dire time and not making much progress towards getting out of it, it seems to me.”
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