Ben Habib: We haven’t actually had Brexit yet
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The Brexit Opportunities Minister last month revealed Britons had handed the Government 2,000 ideas on how to make the most of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. He published the top nine “most interesting” proposals, including scrapping regulations on vacuum cleaners, simplifying the calculation of holiday pay and encouraging fracking. A former Brexit Party MEP has suggested the other 1,991 proposals were not put into the public domain not because they’re not “interesting” but because “our hands are tied” and they are not possible.
Businessman Ben Habib told Express.co.uk: “In order to take advantage of Brexit we first had to Brexit.
“The Government has not ‘Got Brexit Done’ so it stands to reason that Mr Rees-Mogg cannot deliver his aim to exploit its benefits.”
He argued that, while the UK has officially left the EU, agreements signed by the Government post-Brexit mean we are still largely bound to Brussels’s rules.
At the heart of the problem is the “Level Playing Field” (LPF) Britain is tied to under the Brexit deal, negotiated by former Brexit Minister Lord Frost and signed by Boris Johnson.
Because of this, Mr Habib argued “we remain joined at the hip to the EU regulatory framework”.
This binds the UK Government to laws on state aid, competition, employment and the environment.
On the latter, Whitehall tied itself to the EU’s “ambition of achieving economy-wide climate neutrality by 2050” under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
Because of this deal, Britain is committed to net zero targets “whether or not we like it”, Mr Habib said.
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The Brexit Watch Chairman stressed: “The Brexit deal ensures that we are unable to deregulate and jettison EU bureaucracy.
“The cost of delivering net zero by 2050 itself will be £1.4trillion – an economic millstone around our necks for decades.”
He added that the millstone must particularly be felt around Mr Rees-Mogg’s neck, given that the extent to which we can reap Brexit’s benefits is heavily limited.
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This state of affairs is difficult enough, but it even worse for Northern Ireland, which, Mr Habib argued, has been “largely left behind” in the Brussels bloc.
The fault does not lie solely with Mr Rees-Mogg, the former MEP noted, but with those who negotiated and signed the deals which now bind us to the EU.
He said: “One of the main reasons to Brexit was to enable the UK to become again a nimble independent trading nation – this is our heritage, but not the trajectory on which Johnson’s Brexit deal has put us.
“His vision, if you can call it that, is of a highly regulated and taxed United Kingdom.
“The Government is a borrow, tax and spend Government. Rees-Mogg has been given a poisoned chalice.”
Express.co.uk has approached the Government for comment.
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