Keir Starmer questioned over his silence on failures of Brexit
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The UK’s former Brexit negotiator claimed that supporters of the EU were “regrouping” as the fallout over Britain’s exit from the bloc continues to rage. David Frost, who resigned from Boris Johnson’s Government in December in protest against the Prime Minister’s coronavirus strategy and tax plan, said that the “ex-Remain movement” were regrouping and sought to keep Britain “aligned with the EU, using the Northern Ireland Protocol as a weapon”.
Writing in the Telegraph, he said: “To do this they have to get it established in the public mind that somehow Brexit is “already failing”, and thus destroy our nerve to do things our own way.”
The ex-minister, who became one of the Prime Minister’s most hardline Eurosceptics during his time in Government, claimed that EU supporters “use any argument that comes to hand” to show that Brexit is “already failing”, including the latest UK trade figures released this month.
The figures released last month showed that UK goods exports have underperformed the rest of the world in what some experts said could be a sign that Brexit might be limiting the country’s trade performance.
However, Lord Frost said it was “impossible to draw any firm conclusions” from the figures, which he claimed were being used by EU supporters to back their argument that Brexit had been damaging for the UK economy.
Writing in the Telegraph, he said: “In reality, it is almost impossible to draw any firm conclusions from the trade figures amid the noise of recovery from the pandemic, trade re-routing, and methodological change. But to the extent one can, the picture is reassuring.”
According to the world trade monitor published by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, UK goods exports fell 14 per cent in the three months to January compared with the same period in 2020 before the pandemic. This marked a stark contrast to the global average of an 8.2 percent rise over the same period.
The analysis showed that the UK was underperforming over the long term, as it was the only country analysed where goods exports remained below the 2010 average.
Britain also compared poorly with the performance of all advanced countries where goods exports rose by 5 percent.
However, Lord Frost argued that the trade figures were “hardly the catastrophe that many are claiming”.
The Office for Budget Responsibility forecast last week that GDP will be 4 percent lower in 2030 than it otherwise would have been, which has also been attributed by some to the repercussions of Brexit.
However, Lord Frost argued that the OBR’s prediction should not be taken as an indicator that Britain’s exit from the EU would be damaging for economic growth in the long term.
He said that though leaving the single market and customs union has had a short-term effect, this only means that Brexit Britain must step up its domestic reforms to boost productivity.
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The former minister said that the recent figures were being used by the “ex-Remain movement” to support their cause, arguing that it was too soon to draw conclusions about the true impact of Brexit.
He argued that it is too soon to draw any of the conclusion about Brexit some Remainers are now making.
Citing the economist Tim Worstall who said that the EU was given from 1973 to 2020 to prove it worked for Britain, he said we should give Brexit 47 years too.
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