Earlier today I pressed the new Brexit Secretary on the government’s white paper, and what this could mean for our region.
It is extraordinary that the government took two years to form a basic plan on Brexit, yet this collapsed under the weight of its own contradictions within a week.
This White Paper is less about our country’s national interest, but more about holding together an increasingly divided Tory party – and even on that front it is failing.
It doesn’t meet the deep concerns of many businesses, particularly those in the services sector that account for 80 per cent of our economy – who have warned of the negative effects of leaving the Single Market and Customs Union.
It is also telling that the government hasn’t included any regional economic impact assessments in its plans – despite earlier economic analyses showing that the north east will lose growth once we leave the EU, regardless of the deal.
With the government’s own plans unravelling only months before negotiations are set to conclude, the risk that we leave the EU with no deal or a bad deal increases by the day – an outcome that would be catastrophic for jobs and livelihoods in our community.