Scottish Secretary David Mundell has told opponents of Brexit to stop bandying about “damning figures” such as an analysis that Aberdeen will be worst hit by the divorce from Brussels.
The London School of Economics yesterday published data suggesting a “no deal” departure from the bloc would cost the Granite City £3.5billion over five years – £1billion more than a so-called “soft” Brexit.
Mr Mundell dismissed the academic findings when he was grilled by MPs on Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee yesterday.
Liberal Democrat Christine Jardine asked whether the LSE analysis “showing Aberdeen will lose billions in the event of the UK walking away without a deal” had been taken into account by the Scotland Office.
“I don’t recognise these figures,” replied Mr Mundell.
“The government is not seeking to achieve a position of no deal.
“What the government is doing is taking the responsible step to prepare for the fact there might not be a deal and I think that is entirely the responsible thing to do.”
SNP committee chairman Pete Wishart, pressed the issue, saying the LSE figures were “devastating” and that “there will be a disproportionate hit for Aberdeen”.
Mr Mundell replied: “I see all sorts of figures bandied about.
“We’re still at the stage of negotiating the basis on which we leave the EU and I still believe we can do that on a positive basis for Scotland and the rest of the UK.
“We should all be pulling together…not seeking to, every time there is some damning report or a damning figure from an academic, to amplify that but working together to get the best possible outcome.”
Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson asked Mr Mundell to outline some positive potential outcomes from Brexit for the Granite City.
Mr Mundell said he was optimistic about trade deals with Argentina in particular.
“I believe there are significant opportunities,” he said. “There are huge opportunities for oil and gas in Argentina.
“We’re absolutely committed as a government to retain Aberdeen as a global energy centre, regardless of production levels in the North Sea, that Aberdeen is taking that expertise and disseminating it around the world and keeping that vital economic core in Aberdeen and the North Sea.”