Former Bank of England governor Lord King tells MPs to deliver no-deal Brexit

The UK should tell the EU it wants a no-deal Brexit but ask for extra time to prepare, former Bank of England governor Lord King has said.

He accused MPs of having “lost the plot” and suffered “nervous breakdown” over the prospect of a no-deal exit.

Lord King said while there could be “short-run dislocation costs” for the economy from a no-deal Brexit, in the long-term there would be little impact.

The cross-bench peer said: “My own personal preference would be to go back to Europe and say we have a clear strategy, which is that we want to leave without a deal, but we would like to take six months to complete the preparations.”

He acknowledged “if we were to leave without making the preparations there would be some short-run dislocation costs” but it was “hard to know how serious that would be”.

On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said some of the claims about a no-deal exit such as “queues of lorries on the M20 for five years” were “pretty absurd”.

“I don’t believe that with adequate preparation, or in the long-term, that the economic costs of leaving would be very different from staying in the EU,” he added.

But he said “the issue should not be about economics” as that was not what motivated people in the referendum.

“It’s the issues of identity, culture and politics that are motivating people, which is why I think that MPs have lost the plot because when we hear people talk about the consequences of leaving without a deal as ‘national suicide’,” he said, referring to a comment by pro-EU Tory Dominic Grieve.

“I wonder sometimes if the political class hasn’t suffered a collective nervous breakdown and lost confidence in the country.”

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