"I think the evidence that Brexit has caused trade drops is few and far between."

Jacob Rees-Mogg, BBC

February 16, 2022

Facts

Mr Rees-Mogg also said: “I think Brexit has been extremely beneficial for the country.”

A report from the government’s own Office for Budget Responsibility - published in October 2021 - concluded that “the evidence so far suggests that both import and export intensity have been reduced by Brexit, with developments still consistent with our initial assumption of a 15 per cent reduction in each. It is, however, too early to reach definitive conclusions.” 

Meanwhile, ONS data showed that UK exports to EU countries shrunk by a record £20bn in just 20 months. Sales to the EU dropped more significantly in 2021 than exports to any other country in the world as UK to EU exports dropped by 12 per cent between January and December, compared to the previous year. Non-EU exports were down by 6 per cent. In total, exports were down by 10 per cent. Supply chain disruption, new trade barriers and additional red tape were cited as the main reasons in the report. 

The BBC treatment of Mr Rees-Mogg’s claim cries out for comment. When it published Mr Rees-Mogg’s remarks, they did print the OBR’s analysis in their full article, but the headline simply read: “Jacob Rees-Mogg says little evidence Brexit hit trade.” This would easily mislead casual readers. 

Verdict

Jacob Rees-Mogg’s claim is untrue and defies compelling evidence from respectable sources.

We approached Jacob Rees-Mogg’s office and the Cabinet Office to give him a chance to comment. No response. 

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