Morning Call: pick of the papers

The ten must-read comment pieces from this morning's papers.

1. As we ogle her shoes, Teflon Theresa eyes No 10 (Sunday Times) (£)

In Westminster’s unending quest for the next leader, fancies are turning towards the home secretary, says Adam Boulton.

2. Are you in a sham marriage? (Observer)

Border Agency officials ruined a wedding last week, but maybe we should all take their test, says Victoria Coren.

3. Could Chris Christie’s magic work for the Tories? (Sunday Telegraph)

Appealing to the blue-collar middle class does not come naturally to any party in Britain, says Janet Daley.

4. 66,000 girls mutilated - and we've let them do it (Mail on Sunday)

FGM has been banned here, in theory, since 1985. But it goes on, says Rachel Johnson.

5. A comedian rants and politics looks fun. Now let the grown-ups talk (Sunday Times) (£)

It is not surprising that people think MPs are useless when they get into power, says Camilla Cavendish.

6. Ed Miliband has no answer to IDS the dragon-slayer (Sunday Telegraph)

There have been snarl-ups, but Iain Duncan Smith is undeterred – if welfare reform was easy, he’ll say, someone else would have done it by now, writes Bruce Anderson.

7. Which part of a woman's body will we be taught to despise next? (Observer)

Kate's grey hair is just the latest bit to come under scrutiny, says Barbara Ellen

8. Why Dave needs a 95% loan to keep his dream home (Mail on Sunday)

David Cameron will ‘channel’ Margaret Thatcher this week, says James Forsyth

9. Even a vote for Nick Clegg is better than not voting (Independent on Sunday)

Politicians tend to pay more attention to rich, older men such as Russell Brand or Jeremy Paxman, says John Rentoul.

10. Under the Tories we have become Fool Britannia as foreign countries cash in on our energy bills (Sunday Mirror)

Why not employ our redundant former shipyard workers to make wind turbines instead of sending the work abroad, asks John Prescott.

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Forget gaining £350m a week, Brexit would cost the UK £300m a week

Figures from the government's own Office for Budget Responsibility reveal the negative economic impact Brexit would have. 

Even now, there are some who persist in claiming that Boris Johnson's use of the £350m a week figure was accurate. The UK's gross, as opposed to net EU contribution, is precisely this large, they say. Yet this ignores that Britain's annual rebate (which reduced its overall 2016 contribution to £252m a week) is not "returned" by Brussels but, rather, never leaves Britain to begin with. 

Then there is the £4.1bn that the government received from the EU in public funding, and the £1.5bn allocated directly to British organisations. Fine, the Leavers say, the latter could be better managed by the UK after Brexit (with more for the NHS and less for agriculture).

But this entire discussion ignores that EU withdrawal is set to leave the UK with less, rather than more, to spend. As Carl Emmerson, the deputy director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, notes in a letter in today's Times: "The bigger picture is that the forecast health of the public finances was downgraded by £15bn per year - or almost £300m per week - as a direct result of the Brexit vote. Not only will we not regain control of £350m weekly as a result of Brexit, we are likely to make a net fiscal loss from it. Those are the numbers and forecasts which the government has adopted. It is perhaps surprising that members of the government are suggesting rather different figures."

The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts, to which Emmerson refers, are shown below (the £15bn figure appearing in the 2020/21 column).

Some on the right contend that a blitz of tax cuts and deregulation following Brexit would unleash  higher growth. But aside from the deleterious economic and social consequences that could result, there is, as I noted yesterday, no majority in parliament or in the country for this course. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.