Brexit would not cause economic shock, London mayor tells parliament

London Mayor Boris Johnson, a major figure in the campaign for Britain to leave the EU, is quizzed by lawmakers on the economic pros and cons of a potential Brexit. Johnson claims there would no economic shock if the country were to break away.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (MARCH 23, 2016) (PARLIAMENT TV) – London Mayor Boris Johnson, a leading figure in the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, was questioned in parliament on Wednesday (March 23) on the pros and cons of a possible Brexit.

In the sometimes testy exchanges with lawmakers, Johnson frequently got statistics wrong and repeated his argument that panic over Brexit is akin to the false panic over the Millenium Bug many times, to the frustration of some on the Treasury Committee.

Asked how long any period of uncertainty would be should Britain leave the EU, Johnson said “I don’t think there need be a period of uncertainty at all.”

“I think the best analogy I can come up with this whole debate, is the Millenium Bug, the Y2K alarmism. People said that planes would fall from the sky and that computers would crash and the economy would tank by five percent or something. Nothing of the kind took place, I think there is a great deal of scaremongering and alarmism,” he said.

He said he would not want Britain to remain in the single market and would hope Britain could negotiate separate trade deals with European Union countries.

“What is the evidence that there will not be an economic shock? I can simply revert to all the arguments that were made at the time of the euro decision,” said Johnson before he was cut off by the committee chairman Andrew Tryrie and criticised for repeating himself too much.

An ICM poll released on Wednesday put the campaign for Britain to leave the EU up two percentage points

Support for Brexit rose to 43 percent which is the highest proportion in favour of a British exit since ICM started its referendum tracker in May 2015.