The UK “looks pretty clueless” as it seeks to negotiate its way out of the EU, according to former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling.
Lord Darling, who campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU, said there was no way of knowing what the economy would look like after Brexit.
But another former chancellor, Tory Nigel Lawson, predicted a £10bn “Brexit dividend” for the UK once it leaves.
Lord Lawson – a Leave campaigner – said this was a “great chink of light”.
“Once we leave there will be this £10bn a year bonus – unless we are foolish enough to negotiate it away,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Leave campaigners have previously cited a £32bn “dividend” in the three years after Brexit, calculated by adding together the UK’s net contribution for each year.
The UK is due to leave the EU in March 2019, and formal negotiations between the two sides have started. The issue of any “divorce bill” the UK might face is expected to be tackled at an early stage.
Before the talks started, the government set out its negotiation aims, including a new “comprehensive” free trade deal with the EU.
Lord Darling, whose stark economic warnings before the Brexit vote have not yet materialised, said: “Until we know what the Brexit settlement is, and frankly at the moment we haven’t a clue what it is – and every day the government is giving an impression that it hasn’t a clue either what it’s going to look like – you won’t know what the economy is going to do.”
He added: “Here we are, shaping the future… and the UK looks pretty clueless at the moment – I don’t ever recall a situation where our country has been in that position before.”