‘Brexit failure casts a long shadow’

Only 9% of Britons now consider Brexit more of a success than a failure, with only 31% saying Britain was right to leave the EU (Sky News 22.05.23)

Arch-Brexiteer, Nigel Farage admitted that the country had “…not actually benefited from Brexit economically…” and blamed this on “useless” Tory politicians “mismanaging” the departure from the bloc. There is little evidence to contradict his stinging attack on the government.

Stellantis, the world’s fourth largest carmaker, owner of Peugeot and Citroen, which also makes Vauxhall vehicles and employs more than 5,000 people in the UK, has warned that a commitment to make electric vehicles in Britain is in jeopardy unless the government renegotiates its Brexit deal with the EU to maintain existing trade rules until 2027. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has said much the same. So has Ford.

The government, typically in denial, responding to Mr Farage’s comments, pointed to freedoms being enjoyed in the British farming sector as an example of how the divorce from the EU was allowing the UK to take a more tailored approach to policies.

The harsh reality is exports of fruit fell from £248.5m in the year to March 2021 to £113.8m in the 12 months to March 2023, and the absence of a migrant harvest workforce has left produce rotting in the fields.

The Sky News poll revealed most people who consider Brexit to be a failure think it was doomed from the start, with 56% saying, “Brexit was always going to be a failure, and there was nothing any government could do to make it a success.”

Given the 2019 landslide election victory was built on Boris “getting Brexit done” confirms the conviction that the electorate were duped and we are now paying the price.

On a more sombre note, laws to ensure the government is transparent about how it plans to reduce harmful air pollution are among those to be scrapped in the EU retained law bill. The regulations being taken out of UK law impose a duty on the government to publish a pathway to meet emissions targets by 2030 for five noxious pollutants.

The rules also enforce the need to publicly consult on the plans to cut emissions. But these regulations will be removed from UK law by the end of the year if the bill, which is going through the House of Lords, is approved. The pathway to reduce emissions had to be revised under the regulations this year because it was in breach of emission reduction targets for fine particulate matter, known as PM2.5, which is classified as a cause of cancer. It is also not on track to meet emissions reduction targets by 2030 for four out of the five air pollutants from transport, agriculture and industry.

Katie Nield, a clean air lawyer for Client Earth, said: “The fact that government will no longer have to publish its plan, revise and consult on it, in the context of their current plan not being on track, is really concerning.”

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