Brexit branded ‘complete disaster’ as £100bn a year loss to UK revealed

Brexit is a “complete disaster” for the British economy based on a “bunch of total lies”, a former Tory party donor has said on the third anniversary of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

It comes as new analysis shows Brexit has caused a £100bn-a-year loss in output, leaving Britain’s economy 4 per cent smaller than it would have been inside the bloc.

Guy Hands, founder and chairman of private equity firm Terra Firma, said the only way Brexit could have worked was a “Liz Truss utopia” of complete deregulation and privatisation.

“It’s been a complete disaster. The reality is, it’s been a lose-lose situation for us and Europe,” Mr Hands told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “The reality of Brexit was, it was just was a bunch of complete and total lies.”

“The only way that the Brexit put forward by Boris Johnson was going to work was if there was a complete deregulation of the UK and we moved to a sort of Liz Truss utopia of a Singapore state and that was just never going to happen,” he added.

Mr Hands said the British population was “never going to accept” the privatisation of the NHS and scrapping of labour laws – accusing Brexiteers of “complete and total absolute lies” about the economic boost from leaving the EU.

The former Tory donor – who has not given to the party for several years – added: “You can take the Brexit bus as a good example [of] the lies that Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party told about the NHS. In fact, what they did was throw the country and the NHS under the bus.”

Brexit is costing Britain’s economy £100bn a year, according to new analysis by Bloomberg Economics looking at the hit to investment and the widening shortfall in workers.

Estimating that the economy is 4 per cent smaller than it would have been inside the EU, economists Ana Andrade and Dan Hanson said: “Did the UK commit an act of economic self-harm when it voted to leave the EU in 2016? The evidence so far still suggests it did.”

It comes as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecast that Britain’s economy would have the worst performance of all G7 economies this year – even sinking below Russia.

The international body downgraded its UK forecast once again, predicting a contraction of 0.6 per cent against the 0.3 per cent growth pencilled in last October.

Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), said Brexit “challenges” and labour shortages partly explained why the UK was expected to perform so badly in 2023.

Tory MP Richard Holden dismissed the IMF forecast, saying the organisation had been proved wrong before and predicting the UK would “outperform” expectations. “They’ve been wrong in the last two years. I think Britain can beat those predictions,” he told Times Radio.

Anti-Brexit protester outside parliament (Getty)
Anti-Brexit protester outside parliament (Getty)

On the third anniversary of Britain’s formal exit from the EU, polling guru John Curtice said that 57 per cent would vote to rejoin the bloc, based on an average of recent surveys.

Senior MEP Guy Verhofstadt, who expressed his hopes that Britain could rejoin the bloc in the long term, suggested that Russia may not have invaded Ukraine if Brexit had not happened.

“A united Europe, certainly on defence matters, would make an enormous difference. I think maybe without Brexit, maybe there was no invasion. I don’t know,” he told LBC.

No 10 rebuffed Mr Verhofstadt’s suggestion as “nonsense”, with Mr Sunak’s official spokesperson saying: “Putin’s illegal invasion has nothing to do with Brexit.”

Former EU negotiator Michel Barnier told LBC that there had been “no added value to Brexit”. He also revealed that he “respected” Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and said “I think he’s a European” who understood the need for closer cooperation.

Boris Johnson urged people to “shrug off all this negativity and gloom-mongering” about Brexit amid the dire economic warnings on the third anniversary of leaving the EU.

In a social media video, the former PM insisted the UK’s coronavirus vaccination rollout was as rapid as it was because “we’d taken back control” of the Medical Health Regulation Agency (MHRA).

Former Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted that Brexit was “going well” for a “whole range of reasons”.

Mr Rees-Mogg pointed to the gene-editing bill, moves to cut red tape in the City, and Britain not being liable for the EU’s Covid bailout. He also claimed problems with the Northern Ireland protocol were not the “inevitable consequence” of Brexit.

“It’s temporary,” he told Sky News. “It seems to me the protocol is failing and needs to be fundamentally reformed. There must not be a border in the Irish Sea.”

However, foreign secretary James Cleverly admitted on Tuesday that it would be “probably a fair assessment” to suggest that the UK’s exit from the European Union has been “tricky”.

Former Tory leader William Hague warned hardline Brexiteers in the party that Mr Sunak should be “ready to back a deal” with the EU over the protocol “rather than “insisting on a perfect outcome”.

Writing in The Times, he stated: “The country voted at the last election to get Brexit done, not to be still arguing about it five years later.”