In a recent statement, a UK minister Andrea Leadsom caused outrage after defending Brexit checks as the ‘price you pay for being a sovereign state again,’ as British businesses struggle with new checks on imports. Here’s the full story.
A New Low
The British government has been accused of being many things: corrupt, out of touch, and indifferent to the point of cruelty. However, following recent remarks from the government health minister, Andrea Leadsom, it may be time to add willfully ignorant to the growing complaints about His Majesty’s government.
As the United Kingdom marked the fourth anniversary of its departure from the European Union, Andrea Leadsom leaped into the ongoing debate surrounding Brexit with all the grace of a lead balloon.
When interviewed by LBC news, Leadsome stated that “some friction” that businesses may experience when trading with the EU post-Brexit was the “price you pay” for “being a sovereign state again.” It should come as no surprise that the struggling businesses in question did not receive this very well.
Leadsom, a rabid Brexiteer, emphasized that Britain’s regained sovereignty was a cornerstone achievement of Brexit. In her myopic view, the ability of the UK to control laws, borders, and finances outweighs any trade frictions encountered by businesses.
Despite the myriad problems Brexit seemed to have caused, Leadsome stated, in a particularly tone deaf statement, that she was “hugely delighted at Brexit.”
Adapt or Die
Responding to the many concerns raised by businesses, Leadsom acknowledged the difficulties posed by additional checks on imports from the EU.
However, she maintained that such adjustments were foreseeable consequences of leaving the single market, which was and still is the UK’s largest trading partner. Leadsom suggested that UK businesses should “adapt” to the changing rules. It should be noted that Leadsom has never run a business despite being a business secretary for a time.
When challenged regarding the friction in trade with the EU, a new reality businesses are still struggling to manage, Leadsom emphasized the emergence of vast trading opportunities with other nations, highlighting that the government had secured “up to 70 trade deals.”
However, most of these trade deals are “rollovers,” which simply copied the trade deals already existing when Britain was part of the EU.
The introduction of post-Brexit checks on food and drinks imports, much delayed but soon to be implemented, has raised concerns amongst both policymakers and business leaders.
Some MPs expressed apprehensions about potential biosecurity risks associated with the new border checks. Others expressed concerns about possible disruptions to the supply chain at a time when many consumers in Britain are still struggling with the cost of living crisis.
Keep Calm and Carry On
In response to these mounting concerns, government ministers sought to allay the fears of the public, along with businesses. Home Secretary James Cleverly assured the public that there would be no interruption to food supplies on supermarket shelves, a far cry from the promises made during the Brexit campaign when such concerns were raised and shouted down as scaremongering.
Despite the government trying to sound confident, concerns persist about the effectiveness of the implemented measures and their ability to mitigate the potential impact of post-Brexit checks on trade flows and biosecurity standards.
However, not everyone agreed with the government’s rose-tinted view of the situation. Valérie Hayer, president of the Renew Europe group in the European Parliament, wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that “All the polls since show the drama created by Brexit.
Purchasing power, social security, global influence, border protection: nothing, absolutely nothing, has been a success.” This view reflects the broader view of many inside the European Union and a vocal percentage of the UK population, who have seen nothing but negative unintended consequences following the UK’s decision to leave.
As the UK continues to deal with the consequences of its monumental decision to chart its course outside of the European Union, the discourse around Brexit continues to devolve into a thinly veiled farce. As staunch Brexiteers insist that the sunlit uplands of Brexit are just around the corner, many in the UK have lost all faith that any such benefits will be forthcoming.
Angela Leadsom’s comments only prove the blind faith Brexits proponents have in its snake oil benefits, while most of the UK’s citizens and businesses see nothing but downsides.
Whether those hunkered down in their Brexit bunkers will ever emerge to see the world not as they wish it were but as it truly is remains to be seen. Until then, all of us will continue to live with the consequences.
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / B. Lenoir.
Grant Gallacher is a seasoned writer with expertise in politics and impactful daily news. His work, deeply rooted in addressing issues that resonate with a wide audience, showcases an unwavering commitment to bringing forth the stories that matter. He is also known for satirical writing and stand up comedy.