PM: I believe in Brexit and I am delivering the benefits of Brexit
RISHI Sunak last night staunchly defended Brexit, insisting it is turbocharging Britain’s economic recovery.
He hit out at critics for trying to talk down the UK since the split from the EU three years ago and claimed Brexit freedoms give the country “enormous confidence” on the global stage.
The PM, bristling with frustration, took a swipe at opponents, saying: “I voted for Brexit, I believe in Brexit.As Chancellor and Prime Minister I am actually delivering the benefits of Brexit as opposed to talking about it.”
Mr Sunak lashed out as Sir Keir Starmer said he would reopen talks with Brussels if he becomes PM, claiming he will “make Brexit work”.
Elsewhere, bosses at Stellantis, one of the world’s biggest carmakers, warned they may have to close UK factories if the Government does not renegotiate the Brexit deal.
Meanwhile, arch-Brexiteer Nigel Farage claimed leaving the bloc has “failed” and “not benefited the economy” due to Tory “mismanagement”.
But on his way to the G7 summit in Japan, the PM said he had “a lot to get off his chest”, listing his achievements in delivering on Brexit. He added: “As Chancellor, I introduced freeports – a Brexit benefit around the country attracting jobs and investment to lots of different places.
“We cut VAT on sanitary products, we
reformed the alcohol duties that mean this summer you will be able to get cheaper beer in pubs.
“These are all very tangible benefits of Brexit that I’ve already delivered as Chancellor. Probably the most ambitious reform of financial services regulation since the Big Bang – I put that in place as Chancellor and Jeremy [Hunt] is moving it on. Those are all very specific things I would point you to which make a difference.” Mr Sunak said his administration had reformed or axed around 2,000 pieces of EU law.
Some Tory MPs are angry he reneged on a promise to scrap the lot, but the PM went on: “What I said was ‘review
them all’, which is what I have done. I have said I will reform and repeal the ones that have most impact.”
On the economic benefits, the PM said reforms to the working time directive will save businesses £1billion a year: “These are big reforms.We are delivering the benefits of Brexit from an economic perspective.
“The track record is very clear on that.” Mr Sunak said a swathe of indicators point to the economy performing well, including a PwC poll showing the UK is the No1 country in Europe for investment – and third globally, behind the US and China.
Mr Sunak will today unveil a multibillion pound investment into the UK from Japanese firms. He said: “They’re investing in the UK and it’s an enormous
sign of confidence. We have a very strong economic relationship with Japan – we are the second biggest investors in each other’s countries. There’s over 150,000 people employed in the UK working in thousands of Japanese-owned firms. That is delivering.”
Mr Sunak’s commitment to securing the benefits of Brexit contrasted starkly with Labour’s threat to start unpicking the deal struck by then-PM Boris Johnson.
Sir Keir said he would negotiate to change the terms of the agreement: “We need a better Brexit deal. That doesn’t mean reversing the decision and going back into the EU but the deal we’ve got, it was said to be ovenready...it wasn’t even half-baked.”
Tory MP Michael Fabricant said: “Closer ties with the EU will mean the end of independence for Britain.”