An official document containing predictions regarding Brexit's outcome has been leaked. However, the British government is firm on its decision not to publish its contents in order to prevent confusion and outcry.
In a report by the BBC, it was stated that the document lists 3 possible final Brexit outcomes, all of which point to sluggish economic growth for the UK. The leaked document is titled "EU Exit Analysis - Cross Whitehall Briefing and drawn up for the Department for Exiting the EU."
The report states that the UK's growth would be 8% lower than the current forecast if the country is able to make any trade deals with the EU.
However, the figures have been questioned. Capital Economics reckons that growth could be as high as 2.2% in 2018, which is far more positive than the predictions in the leaked document.
Brexit Minister Steve Baker said that the document was incomplete, and releasing it to the public could damage the UK's negotiation process with the EU. He stated that the document's contents were in no way approved by the ministers, and didn't truly reflect the governments preferred options for the Brexit.
"[The leaked document] does not yet take account of the opportunities of leaving the EU,” said Baker. He also mentioned that civil service forecasts were always wrong anyway.
Baker sees the document as propaganda being pushed forward by several key figures in the House of Commons to topple the 2016 EU referendum. The MP went on to state that they want to gather as much data as possible, and explore all options regarding Brexit before disclosing anything to the public.
Conservative MP Philip Davies condemned the report, calling it the work of London-centric “remoaners” who were completely against Brexit. Davies asserts that the data is inaccurate, and the numbers don’t add up to back the leaked document’s conclusions.
Ian Duncan Smith, a former Conservative MP and leave campaigner, echoes the sentiments of Baker and Davis, saying that the leaked document should be taken with a “pinch of salt" because almost all of the predictions made regarding Brexit were false.
Not everyone, however, was happy with Baker’s decision to keep the document’s contents undisclosed. The FDA, which represents senior civil servants, is one of the most prominent organisations questioning the Brexit minister’s judgment.
"We have just witnessed the extraordinary scene of a serving minister telling the House that, whatever analysis his own department comes up with, he simply won't believe it," said FDA union’s general secretary Dave Penman.
Labour agrees with the FDA, and said that the document should be disclosed and debated.
Brexit has divided the country with many looking to overturn the result. FXCM reports that a petition for a second Brexit referendum collected over 4.1 million signatures. However, while the British government must not ignore any petition with over 100,000 votes, the Foreign Office rejected the notion, saying that the final outcome must be respected because 33 million people voted.
With just over a year left until the UK leaves the EU, many in the country are wondering when they will get a clear idea of what a post-Brexit UK will look like.