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Forget net zero Prime Minister, Brexit is still not done

Jayne Adye
February 10, 2022

As the new Minister for Brexit Opportunities, Jacob Rees-Mogg's priority should be forcing the Prime Minister to move away from his costly net zero agenda and accept political capital is needed to finally deliver on Brexit, argues Jayne Adye, Director of Get Britain Out.

Boris Johnson might want to continue with his well-established obsession with the environment agenda, especially with the encouragement of his wife. However, without a doubt the main focus of his current political agenda should be the further pursuit of delivering a 'real' Brexit. Not only would such a move help to tackle the huge cost of living crisis, but it would allow the Prime Minister to return to his best battleground of Brexit, an area where he can make clear distinctions between his own beliefs and those of the opposition parties. It would also actually deliver on the promises made to the British public at both the EU Referendum in 2016 and the 2019 General Election.

Naturally, the biggest area of concern for the PM must be the ongoing crisis in Northern Ireland. The continued application of the Northern Ireland Protocol costing the country's economy over £100,000 an hour – a massive £2.5 million per day. This comes on top of the cultural damage inflicted on the people of Northern Ireland as they continue to find their place as part of the United Kingdom constantly undermined. Boris originally claimed anyone moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland could throw any customs declaration forms "in the bin". Well, he now has the opportunity to support the DUP in their attempts to start turning this promise into reality.

Not only this, but the PM recently tried to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the UK's exit from the political institutions of the EU with the claim the UK has already begun undertaking significant reforms of the vast number of EU regulations copied over into UK law. While it is true some work has begun, to claim significant progress has been made, when looking at the scale of the problem, would be a complete falsehood.

The UK is still entirely aligned with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), bringing with it huge costs of up to £1 million a year on average for companies. The City of London and the Financial Services Sector remain governed by almost identical laws to the EU – despite the EU making clear they will not cooperate with the UK sector even if our laws stay aligned.

On both of these issues – and many more – the Government knew long ago change was not only going to be possible after Brexit, it would be a necessity to properly position the UK as an excellent place to do businesses in the years to come. Yet, no action has been taken. It is in this area that Jacob Rees-Mogg will need to pick up the pace more than any other. It is clear those who have held responsibility for reform prior to him have simply not had the stomach to make the big decisions and get those in Whitehall to actually take decisions – as opposed to simply launching review after review.

Without doubt, one of the big obstacles to overcome will be Rishi Sunak, who may be unwilling to make funds available for projects which he deems too beneficial to the reputation of Boris Johnson, putting his own ambitions to becoming Prime Minister at risk. We will see.

Of course, all of this is built upon the parts of Brexit which – despite claims to the contrary – have still not been truly delivered. The seas around our country are still not fully under our control. We have minimal power to ban EU vessels from our seas for years to come, in spite of the damage they cause to our bio-diversity and our domestic fishing industry. On top of this the PM may wish to claim the UK has 'Taken Back Control' of our borders, but a points-based immigration system is just the start.

January 2022 saw six times as many migrants illegally cross the Channel than during the same time period in 2021. Meanwhile the Government's legislation to tackle the issue is still bogged down in the House of Lords, with royal assent for the 'Nationality and Borders Bill' nowhere in sight. No government can claim to have control of their borders while thousands of people continue to gain access to the country illegally, and the asylum system process is lengthy and in disarray.

Boris Johnson clearly faces challenges across multiple fronts when it comes to securing his position in Number 10. However, following the proper appointment of a 'Minister for Brexit Opportunities', he now has the chance to shift his focus onto the areas which the public really value. This is assuming Mr Rees-Mogg is allowed to focus on the real job which needs to be done to get the best out of Brexit. There is no doubt Boris' remaining political capital is best spent not on net zero, but on delivering the 'real' Brexit which will finally get Britain out of the EU in every aspect.

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Jayne Adye is the Director of the leading cross-Party Eurosceptic campaign Get Britain Out
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