Import checks set to be imposed on EU goods entering the UK have been delayed for a year and a half after arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg admitted they would be an “act of self-harm”.
But the checks were part of the UK’s conditions for leaving the European Union, so Rees-Mogg – now the euphemistically-titled Minister for Brexit Opportunities – is saying that the UK’s departure from the EU is actually harmful to the nation.
That’s a big u-turn from a major supporter of Brexit. We would be justified in asking why he has spent the last seven years (or so) claiming the opposite. Was it a deliberate lie?
“You’re admitting that this could save £1billion, which is admitting that checks would cost £1billion. I thought that post-Brexit checks were not going to be disruptive?” he was asked by [a] reporter.
“That’s why we’re not adopting them,” he replied. “This would have been an act of self-harm if we’d gone ahead with it.
“It would have increased costs for people and we are trying to reduce costs… free trade is hugely advantageous to consumers.”
It means UK exporters are now at a considerable financial disadvantage compared with EU firms importing goods into the UK:
Brexit opportunities Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg says implementing in full the “oven ready Brexit deal” negotiated, signed & sold by Boris Johnson to the public & Parliament as a negotiating triumph would be…
“an act of self harm”
Watch in disbelief pic.twitter.com/tPXRKsM0eg
— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) April 29, 2022
That’s right – EU goods are allowed through into the UK with no checks while UK goods are still subject to comprehensive checks on entering the EU.
It means that the UK will essentially continue to depend on the EU to monitor food safety.
And who’s to say that other things may be imported into the UK, with no checks to stop them?
That would really spoil Priti Patel’s party, after she proudly fanfared her plan to deport channel-crossing asylum-seekers to Rwanda. What if they start coming by unchecked food lorry instead?
Port authorities are considering legal action against the Tory government to recover the cost of building border control posts they believe may now never be used, as well.
The simple fact is that Tories like Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson – who was the poster boy of Brexit alongside that other horror, Nigel Farage – never bothered to consider the consequences of their hasty and thoughtless departure from the European Union.
It seems clear that they had been led to believe in some possibly-mythical profit for themselves (Tories never make changes without expecting to make some money out of it, somewhere down the line).
But now they are being forced to work through the consequences of their stupidity as the nation demands that they solve the problems they have created, that are costing us an alleged £800 million per week.