Tory policy chief: 'very real prospect' Brexit could lead to national decline – Politics live

Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including MPs debating and voting on the first day of the EU withdrawal bill’s committee stage

George Freeman, Tory MP and chair of the Conservative policy forum, has issued a warning that the UK could become “an old people’s home that can’t pay for itself” with excessive debts and young people fleeing the country, unless it embarks on serious economic renewal.

At an economics conference, the MP set out two scenarios for life in the UK after Brexit, arguing there is a real risk that Britain could take the path of decline.

People got up and left. We pulled out of Europe and became and isolated, small, insular, old, ageing economy. We became an old people’s home that couldn’t pay for itself.

That I see as a very real prospect and it chills me to the bone. It is an extreme choice but I think that is the choice we face as a country and the question whether we as a generation rise to it and grip it.

Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, is resolutely upbeat about Britain’s economic prospects after Brexit. In his press office they obviously share his outlook because this morning the department’s official Twitter account retweeted a link to a Daily Mail article criticising the Treasury’s economic forecasts. Sky’s Faisal Islam spotted the post.

Only the Trade Department tweeting out stories attacking the OBR and Treasury 8 days before a Budget… https://t.co/GyN5wO9AA9

At the report’s launch on Tuesday, the pro-Brexit Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg will say official forecasts are based on “false assumptions” of the Treasury and that the outlook for the public finances is “much better” than the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is predicting.

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