Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar has claimed both his country and the UK should be “afraid” of a no-deal Brexit.
Addressing accusations he is staging a “project fear” campaign over a united Ireland after Brexit, Mr Varadkar said: “In terms of fear, I think we should be afraid of a no-deal Brexit.”
“A no-deal Brexit would have very serious impacts on the economy, north and south, and on Britain,” he added.
“It could have security implications as well and it could have constitutional implications.
“It’s something that we have to prepare for nonetheless. It is something we should be afraid about.”
Mr Varadkar made the comments following criticism by DUP leader Arlene Foster that he was engaging in “project fear mark two” and should “dial down the rhetoric”.
It followed the Irish premier’s suggestion that – although it would be “provocative” for his government to take steps to discuss a united Ireland at this stage – more and more people in Northern Ireland would come to question the Union in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Mr Varadkar spoke on the same day the UK government pledged £2.1bn to “turbocharge” no-deal Brexit preparations.
Gary Cohn, US President Donald Trump’s former chief economic adviser, suggested a no-deal Brexit would be better than continued uncertainty over the UK’s exit from the EU, which has already been delayed by more than six months.
“Any forward progress at this point is good,” the former Goldman Sachs president told the BBC.
“This is another one of those economic geopolitical situations that has to be solved. And if it’s hard, soft, it has to be solved.
“And countries are more resilient than people think and, if you end up at the hard Brexit and say ‘we’re out, no-deal, we’ll be out on this day’ things will tend to happen, things will fall into place.
“You’ll have to get certain things done to make sure it works and then it will evolve over time.
“But it’s better than the state we’re in right now where every month or every six weeks there’s a new drama and we just kick the can down the road.”
However, Bank of England governor Mark Carney dismissed Mr Cohn’s assessment of a no-deal Brexit.
Asked about Mr Cohn’s comments at a news conference, Mr Carney said: “He’s wrong. No deal as a crystallisation of a bad economic outcome is not preferable to the possibility of a better economic outcome.
“As we have said, since immediately following the referendum, whatever outcome the country chooses, it is always preferable to have a transition to it.”
He added: “This country is, if not the most flexible, one of the most flexible economies in the world and it’s supported by one of the strongest financial sectors in the world.
“But it is very difficult to change things overnight.”