01:14 GMT20 October 2020
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    Jon Thompson says he has had to change his route to work after he estimated that a no-deal Brexit customs option would cost up to £20bn.

    Jon Thompson, the head of UK's HM Revenue and Customs, the government's tax agency, reportedly received two death threats after coming up with his Brexit cost estimations.

    Earlier last week, Thompson warned that a no-deal Brexit scenario would cost up to £20 billion (almost $27 billion at the current GBP/USD exchange rate) for UK and EU companies. According to Thompson's estimations, customs declarations will quadruple to over 200 million per year in a no-deal Brexit scenario.

    While many politicians have also received death threats over Brexit, this is the first time a civil servant has spoken out on such a matter, The Guardian notes.

    Speaking at the Institute for Government on Thursday, Thompson said publishing the costs had led to "very significant personal consequences" for him.

    "We have had to literally change how I travel and what my personal security is," he said.

    "Those are real situations. I'm still not going to back away from [telling the truth] if I think something's not going to work — it's incumbent on me. We live in a democracy, so in the end, it's for governments to decide, ministers, to decide, what they want to implement," he added. "But our role as civil servants is to act with integrity and to give them our best advice."

    Naturally, Thompson's revelations have become a new card in the hands of those in the Remain group.

    READ MORE: Dear 'Civil Emergencies' Experts, UK Government Wants YOU to Deal With Brexit!

    He also disclosed that the scale of the reaction surprised him.

    "The first I knew it was significant was when my 28-year-old son texted me with: ‘You're trending on Twitter.' [I thought:] ‘Oh, is that a good thing? I don't know.'"

    Downing Street has reacted to the issue by saying that it is "unacceptable for threats to be made against anyone."

    Nicky Morgan, the chair of the Treasury committee, said in an interview it was "appalling that a public servant should be threatened for doing his job".

    "I am sure Mr. Thompson considered what he said very carefully. As someone who has also been threatened, it is deeply concerning that this is what Brexit seems to have done to public life," she said, according to PoliticsHome.


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