On 23 June 2016, a little over half of Britons, 51.9%, voted to leave. The European Unionsending shock waves around the world as the UK begins the painful process of divorce from the bloc.
The result sowed the seeds of one of the most divisive periods in British political history, with the resignation of two Conservative prime ministers, the dismissal of 21 Tory rebels and a sweeping victory on the back of his promise of an “oven” for Boris Johnson. -ready Brexit deal”.
Now on the sixth anniversary of the referendum, one of the central figures prosecuting that deal has given his Decision: “Brexit is working,” says Lord Frost, adding that those who say it is killing the economy have “an ax to grind”.
So do Frost’s claims stack up?
Is Brexit working?
While it is too early to say whether his statement can be supported by evidence, Frost was asked by Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s College London and the UK Director of Changing. EuropeTo test it in a different way – what future evidence will lead him to believe that Brexit had failed.
“An interesting question,” was his response. And the answer lay not in trade figures but in terror politics. Would the partition of Britain have been cured?
“A proof of failure would be if we are still arguing in a similar fashion in five or six years’ time. I think it needs to be settled in the British polity for it to succeed.”
Economy – What Lord Frost says:
He said predictions of a 4% contraction in UK GDP used by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) were not facts, but “zombie figures” based on a 2018 government economic services report, which relied on academic studies of the effect. Opening up “badly run pre-communist and pre-authoritarian autocratic economies”.
He was referring to the 79-page report. Exit the European Union: Long-term Economic Analysis Technical Reference Letters, It looked at five Brexit deal models and their impact on 12 regions of the UK, taking into account trade and non-trade barriers.
But Frost said Britain’s growth “cannot be supported by objective analysis” at the same pace as other G7 countries and goods exports to the EU “at the highest level” since the referendum.
He also argued that the exact impact of Brexit may never be known as trade figures were hit by the pandemic, the supply chain crisis and disruptions along the way in Ukraine.
What others say:
Four years later, OBR retains its predictions. Its latest, March 2022, forecast stated that the frost seal trade deal “will reduce long-term productivity by 4% relative to the rest in the EU”.
It said this reflected its view that “an increase in non-tariff barriers” such as red tape, compliance with standards, was “an obstacle to the exploitation of comparative advantage”.
OECD figures showed that the UK was ahead of France, Italy, Germany and Japan in percentage change in their GDP between the last quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2022, but behind the EU as a whole, and significantly behind the US, Australia was behind. Overall G20.
A Resolution Foundation report this week said the UK has experienced an eight percent drop in trade openness (total trade as part of GDP) since 2019. This compared with a drop of two percentage points for France.
“The full effect of the TCA [trade and cooperation agreement] It will take years to be realized but it is a step towards a more closed economy,” the authors said.
Menon said: “Early evidence suggests there is a Brexit effect and a recent Resolve Foundation analysis suggests that, in the medium term, it will be significant.”
Northern Ireland Protocol: What Frost Says:
It is unfinished Brexit business and the “biggest problem” as the UK exits the EU. Frost said, “The delicately balanced agreement we reached in 2019, assuming we faced a high degree of risk in doing so, has come much faster than most of us thought.” “
He blamed the European Union, which he said was refusing to compromise despite its sensitivity.
What others say:
This is entirely in line with government policy, which has been met with a chorus of disapproval by many parties and support and conditional support within the Brexit backbench community. Northern Ireland federalist community.
Reports over the weekend suggested that Frost had some input in the drafting of the controversial bill to scrap parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
But unwritten observations suggest that the meeting of the minds did not take place. He expressed surprise that the Article 16 mechanism had not been triggered, arguing that it would be a “quick” way to resolve the dispute with the EU.
This may reinforce the idea that the government had always planned to bring forth legislation as a blunt negotiating tool.