Brexit: Frost says 'we drifted away from those who elected us'
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Since January 1, full customs checks and import declarations have been required on goods arriving from the EU. The checks were delayed when Britain first left the EU transition period at the end of December 2020 in order to allow businesses time to adapt to the new trading relationship.
Their introduction has created extra paperwork for firms, creating extra cost and bureaucracy.
Lord Frost said he argued against the checks while in Government but was overruled.
He said: “This year is affected by the new inward customs processes we brought in on January 1.
“I wouldn’t have done this but I lost the internal argument.”
He made his intervention after the publication of a report by the public accounts committee (PAC) that claimed leaving the European Union has so far made trade more expensive.
MPs on the committee found while Covid had surpassed trade, the “EU exit has had an impact, and that new border arrangements have added costs to business”.
The PAC said the Government had considerable work to do to make cross-border trade easier for businesses.
Brussels has required British exporters to the continent to fill out paperwork since the first months after the end of the transition period.
Lord Frost criticised the UK for following the bloc by introducing frictions to trade, urging the Government to stop following the EU model.
He said: “We have to put up with EU controls. But we don’t have to replicate them ourselves.
“We should have a light-touch border to the whole world. That’s a Brexit opportunity.
“The EU believes in protectionism. We don’t, and our controls should reflect our philosophy not theirs.”
Lord Frost quit the Government in December, citing “concerns about the current direction of travel” in policy.
In his resignation letter to the Prime Minister he urged Mr Johnson to grasp the opportunities for freedom from Brussels.
He wrote: “I hope we will move as fast as possible to where we need to get to: a lightly regulated, low-tax, entrepreneurial economy, at the cutting edge of modern science and economic change.”
More to follow…
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