Lord Frost warns Britons might NEVER be able to judge if Brexit was a success or failure but – six years on from Leave vote – ex-Cabinet minister insists there is ‘no cause for regrets’ so far and urges Boris to ‘complete the process’
- Lord Frost says it might never be clear whether Brexit was a success or failure
- Ex-Cabinet minister insists there’s ‘no cause for regrets’ so far over Leave vote
- Tory peer puts pressure on Boris Johnson not to go ‘backwards’ on Brexit
Ex-Brexit minister Lord Frost today admitted it might never be clear whether Britain’s decision to leave the EU was an economic success or failure.
Speaking on the sixth anniversary of the EU referendum, the former Cabinet minister stressed there was ‘so much else is going on’ that it made it ‘extremely difficult’ to judge the impact of Brexit.
But the Tory peer insisted there was ‘no cause for regrets’ so far over Britain qutting the EU.
He also put pressure on the Prime Minister to not go ‘backwards’ on Brexit but instead focus on ‘completing the process’.
Lord Frost served as Britain’s chief negotiator – and struck the Brexit deal with the EU – until December last year, when he quit the Government due to his worries about the direction of Boris Johnson’s administration.
Lord Frost stressed there was ‘so much else is going on’ that it made it ‘extremely difficult’ to judge the impact of Brexit
The ex-Cabinet minister put pressure on the Prime Minister to not go ‘backwards’ on Brexit but instead focus on ‘completing the process’
The Tory peer insisted there was ‘no cause for regrets’ so far for Leave voters who decided Britain should quit the EU
Appearing at the UK in a Changing Europe think tank’s annual conference on Wednesday, he suggested the success or otherwise of Brexit would be hard to uncover.
‘I’m not sure it is ever going to be clear in that sense whether it’s succeeded or failed because so much else is going on and extracting the causality about this is always going to be extremely difficult,’ Lord Frost said.
On the economic impact of leaving the EU, the peer added there was ‘a huge amount of noise in the figures’ from the Covid pandemic, supply chain disruption and the war in Ukraine, making it ‘hard to be confident what if any changes in UK trade are due to Brexit’.
While he noted that there had been ‘some transitional impact on trade’, he said comparisons with other major economies suggested there was ‘no obvious Brexit-related lag’.
But he urged Brexit supporters to be ‘honest’ about the ‘trade-offs’ involved in leaving the EU instead of ‘pretending nothing is going on’.
He said: ‘I don’t think it’s reasonable to say, as some pro-Brexit people do, “nothing to see here in the figures, don’t bother looking at them, it really is not important”.
‘I don’t think that’s fair, you have to look at the figures, they’re telling you something, I just don’t believe they bear the constructions that are put on them at the moment.’
Lord Frost insisted there was no need for remorse about the Leave vote in 2016.
He added: ‘We have no cause for regrets about the decision the country has taken and the solutions to the remaining problems are not to be found in going backwards, but in completing the process and following through on its logic.’
The peer also argued that ‘Brexit automatically delivers democracy’ as British voters can ‘now change everything by elections’.
Lord Frost acknowledged that Brexit was ‘not fully complete yet’, with more work needing to be done to address the Northern Ireland Protocol and remove the UK from the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
He also welcomed yesterday’s announcement by Brexit Opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg about plans to scrap retained EU laws.
A Brexit ‘dashboard’ allowing voters to see how well the Government is doing at scrapping Brussels regulations has been unveiled.
Mr Rees-Mogg introduced the website as he set out his hopes for a ‘revolution’ to help cut the cost of living.
He told the MPs that ministers will publish data every three months to show how many changes have been made to the 2,400 pieces of EU legislation still in place.
He added that the dashboard will ensure the public can ‘join us on this journey to amend, repeal or replace’ retained EU law in a bid to cut at least £1 billion of business costs from ‘EU red tape’.
Lord Frost welcomed Mr Rees-Mogg’s proposals, saying he hoped they would ‘kick off a different approach’ to bringing ‘meaningful’ reform.
He said Brexit was ‘not a thing in itself’ but ‘the beginning of a broader project of national renewal’.
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