“There may be bumps in the road” with no deal

Boris Johnson, speech launching Tory leadership campaign

June 11, 2019

Claim

This phrase was repeated by Johnson and other ministers. Alister Jack, whom Johnson appointed as secretary of state for Scotland, said on 25 July that there would be “bumps along the way” after a no-deal Brexit but it would not be “seriously damaging” if the UK were prepared.

The cabinet minister in charge of no-deal preparations, Michael Gove, repeated the phrase to television cameras on 18 August, the day leaked Operation Yellowhammer documents were published. “It’s certainly the case there will be some bumps in the road, some element of disruption in the event of no-deal,” he said.

Johnson repeated the line on 19 August to television cameras while on a visit to a hospital in Cornwall in the wake of the leak of Operation Yellowhammer documents. “I’m not going to suggest that there won’t be — as I said on the steps of Downing Street — there may well be bumps in the road,” he said.

Facts

The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies found on 8 October that a no-deal Brexit would cause government debt to rise to the highest level in half a century.

A Bank of England scenario from September based on a disorderly no-deal Brexit suggested that no deal would probably result in a 5.5 percent decline in GDP before any recovery and a rise in unemployment from 3.8 percent to 7 percent.

Verdict

Boris Johnson’s claim that a no-deal Brexit might result in “bumps in the road” is reckless and misleading given the scale of the economic consequences predicted.

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