Brexit plan has 'decent chance' in key vote on Saturday: British Finance Minister Javid

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain, on Oct 16, 2019.
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid is seen outside Downing Street in London, Britain, on Oct 16, 2019. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Britain's new Brexit deal has a "decent chance" of clearing a crucial vote in the country's parliament on Saturday and the alternative is to leave the European Union without a deal on Oct 31, finance minister Sajid Javid said on Thursday (Oct 17).

Javid said he would not heed calls from some lawmakers to produce an assessment of the economic impact of the deal that Prime Minister Boris Johnson struck on Thursday with the rest of the EU.

Instead, Javid said parliament had to understand that the plan would end the uncertainty that has dogged the world's fifth-biggest economy since voters decided to leave the EU more than three years ago.

"It is self-evident that what we have achieved in terms of this deal is the right way forward for the economy, much better than any alternative," Javid told reporters on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank fall meetings.

"It is the right thing for that reason but also ... and this is such an important point, it is also the right thing for our democracy." Johnson has said he will take Britain out of the EU on Oct 31, if necessary without a transition deal to smooth the shock.

However, British lawmakers have passed legislation that they say would force a Brexit delay rather than a no-deal Brexit.

Javid also said the process for appointing the next governor of the Bank of England was on track and was going "very, very smoothly."

"I think the most important thing for me is I really, crucially value the independence of the Bank of England and I want someone who values that too and will be independent-minded," he said.

On his budget plans, Javid said he believed interest rates would be low for a long time and he reiterated that he was looking at how to take advantage of cheap borrowing costs to increase long-term productive investment by the government.

"I traded bonds markets for 20 years and I've never seen anything like this," he said.