Tory warnings about “bad Brexit” have one word too many

The latest Tory tactic seems to be to warn against a “bad Brexit” and to say that only they, if they get a whopping enough majority, can make sure we get a “good” deal. On that majority point, think of the last time you said to yourself “Oh, Merkel has a huge majority, we need to do what she says.” The point is that we go into these negotiations in a weakened position anyway. There are 27 EU member states and 1 of us. Who has the power here? The Tory brexiteers needn’t bother trying to blame the EU for a situation that they created.

Jeremy Hunt is the latest to talk of the dangers of Brexit going wrong and what that will mean for our NHS. In fact, if Brexit happens, it will damage our NHS on various fronts. The crash in our economy that would result if Theresa May’s extreme Brexit goes ahead would cost the NHS dearly. And today a report says that the NHS could stand to lose an extra half a billion if returning ex-pats came back to be treated on the NHS in Britain. This was entirely predictable.

That is just one problem of several highlighted by the Nuffield Trust:

According to the Nuffield Trust, it may not be easy to continue with this agreement after Brexit.
If all of these pensioners decided to return to the UK – a big if – they could be expected to fill 900 NHS hospital beds a year, it says.

The NHS would need about 1,600 more doctors, nurses and other workers to provide the care, it estimates.

Also, hospitals could end up short-staffed if migration of workers from the EU slows or stops post-Brexit.
And access to medicines could also become more difficult if the UK leaves the EU’s medicine licensing system.

So, we have a crashing economy, extra people to treat with fewer staff and restricted access to medicines. All of these are en entirely predictable consequence of any Brexit. It’s not exactly what was written on that bus, is it?

In response to today’s report, Norman Lamb said:

The Conservative Brexiteers promised a £350m a week saving for the NHS. Instead the public finances are facing a £59bn Brexit black-hole because of Theresa May’s decision to go for an extreme Brexit, which would take us out of the single market.

Jeremy Hunt warns that the NHS will not have enough doctors or nurses with a so-called ‘bad Brexit’. But Theresa May’s refusal to guarantee a right to remain for NHS staff has already resulted in staff leaving the NHS. Thanks to Theresa May, this is already a bad Brexit.

Sadly, the people who will suffer are patients, who will pay with cancelled operations. But Theresa May just doesn’t seem to care.

Nick Clegg’s Brexit Challenge papers set out in detail why Brexit in general and Theresa May’s extreme Brexit in particular will cause huge problems for business, our economy and public services. Read them here.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Theresa May warns of catastrophic damage to the economy in the case of No Deal, yet she is prepared to walk away with No Deal. Can anyone explain this logic?

  • Alan Depauw 31st May '17 - 3:08pm

    Theresa May keeps repeating she would choose no deal over a bad deal. But no interviewer, including Paxman, has so far been prepared to ask her what would be the financial consequences. And what would make a deal so bad that she would prefer none?

    What is the maximum cost of Brexit she would accept? Does she consider reasonable the OBR’s forecast of an extra £61bn government borrowing over the period to 2020/21? Or that of the CEBR that the cost to the economy of losing access to the single market could be up to £36bn a year?

    On which Brexit scenario is her manifesto based? That promised by the likes of David Davis and Boris Johnson, that we can keep all the good bits without the constraints? Or on some mid-point towards ‘no-deal’?

    This evening’s debate would be a good opportunity to bring to the electorate’s attention the costs ensuing from May’s chosen form of Brexit. One for Tim to seize? After all, it’s a fair bet that no-one else will.

  • Nick Collins 31st May '17 - 3:36pm

    There are only two kinds of brexit: bad and very bad. Which do you think we are more likely to get with May’s “team” negotiating for the UK?

  • George Crozier 1st Jun '17 - 9:45am

    Angela Merkel of course heads up a coalition.

    PS Good article

  • Katharine Pindar 2nd Jun '17 - 12:56am

    Completely agree that we should point out the harm of a ‘bad’ Brexit, but could we please have some brief summary of what our proposed good Brexit looks like? Exactly how can we stay in the internal market, Nick? Sorry there is no time to read all your papers. I assume we would have to negotiate managed movement of EU citizens with the other states, and this could be done, together with accepting necessary jurisdiction by the ECJ. I’d rather we were saying these things boldly now, because it is surely May’s stance which is incredible, along with her continued absurd pledge on immigration.

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