Thank you for contacting me about announcements by Conservative Party leadership contenders on leaving the EU without a deal.
I have always been clear that I would prefer to leave the EU with a Withdrawal Agreement but I believe that leaving without a deal would be preferable to not leaving at all. The British people must be able to trust their politicians to deliver on their promises. I am also confident that the UK would be able to thrive in the long-term.
I understand your concern about statements made during the Conservative Party leadership contest about the UK leaving on the 31 October whatever the circumstances. The Article 50 process has already been extended on two occasions and I believe that any further extension would, of course, be deeply regrettable. I am confident, however, that the next Prime Minister will secure an exit deal that Conservative MPs can support and avoid such a situation.
In the event that the UK does leave the EU without a deal, my ministerial colleagues have been clear that the protection of public services in trade deals, including the NHS, is of the highest importance. The NHS offers a universal service that is free at the point of use. It will never be for sale to the private sector and no trade deal will change these principles.
I can assure you that our food standards will not be reduced in the pursuit of trade deals. Any future trade deal must work for British farmers and consumers. For instance, EU standards on food such as chlorinated chicken will come into UK law through the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018. EU regulations on hormone treated beef are already part of UK law. These prevent the use of growth hormones in imports and domestic production. These will continue after the UK leaves the EU.
The Government's own analysis has predicted that leaving the EU without a deal could mean that GDP is around 7.7 per cent smaller over the next 15 years. This would be challenging in the short-term but I am confident that the UK would thrive in the long-term. Forbes has ranked the UK has as the number one place to do business in the world for two consecutive years and a survey published by KPMG has found that CEOs in the United States, India, China and Japan are more likely to invest in the UK after the country leaves the EU.
The Government is planning for every eventuality in the UK's exit from the EU and over £4 billion has been provided on withdrawal preparations including for a no deal exit. Important steps are already being taken to support manufacturing industries including an increase in the annual investment allowance from £200,000 to £1 million and support for the Made Smarter programme promoting automation and digitalisation in the industry.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.