Jeremy Hunt rejects OBR forecast for 4% GDP loss from Brexit

Jeremy Hunt appeared to get a bit hot under the collar during an interview with Sky News' Beth Rigby.

Rigby described Brexit as "the elephant in the room" in terms of why the economy is floundering in the interview, and it all went downhill from there.

The chancellor said: "I don't accept that Brexit is the cause of the big economic difficulties that we face," and said voting to leave was a "choice" the British people made.

Rigby went on to remind Hunt of an OBR forecast showing Brexit will cause a 4 per cent GDP reduction over the longer term, amounting to about £100 billion in lost trade and approximately £40 billion in tax revenue.

But Hunt lost his cool. "Beth, I don't accept the 4 per cent". So Rigby suggested Hunt only "accepts" OBR forecasts he "likes" and Hunt replied "I accept the ones I agree with and I don't accept the ones I don't agree with."

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"You can't just move on because then you're moving on from the answers that you don't like and you've got to let me answer properly," he added, when Rigby continued the interview, and said the forecast showed what could happen if the UK doesn't change course. He said that the economy could get back on track and that he planned "to take advantage of the opportunities" that come from Brexit.

But it didn't end there and when Rigby asked whether a Swiss style deal with the trading bloc would be a good thing for Britain, Hunt said "no", but not before getting irritated one last time.

"With respect Beth, Brexit is not the issue that all these independent commentators are talking about when they talk about challenges facing the British economy so I'll answer your question so let's make it the last one".

Awkward stuff.

It was not the only forecast Hunt didn't agree with during the interview.

The Resolution Foundation has estimated the mistakes made by the former prime minister Liz Truss cost the UK £30bn while Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, called it one of a series of economic "own goals" that has led to the UK's bleak outlook.

But Hunt said: "I don't recognise those Resolution Foundation figures."

He added: "I don't believe there was a long term impact because the measures they introduced were reversed so quickly.

"I think what the world wanted to see was that the United Kingdom was not going to spend money it didn't have and was committed to repaying its debts. And Rishi Sunak and myself have given them that reassurance."

However, he said he accepts "we've had a rocky period in the last couple of months".

"I wish that we hadn't had what happened with the mini-budget and all the turbulence that happened there", he said.

Frosty scenes.

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