Is David Frost’s claim that Brexit works? † Brexit

On 23 June 2016, just over half of British voters, 51.9%, were in favor of leaving the European Union, sending shockwaves around the world as the UK embarked on the painful process of separating from the bloc.

The result also sowed the seeds of one of the most divisive periods in British political history, with the resignation of two Conservative Prime Ministers, the resignation of 21 Tory rebels and an all-out victory for Boris Johnson on his pledge of a “ oven-ready Brexit deal”.

Now, on the sixth anniversary of the referendum, one of the central figures in prosecuting that deal has given his verdict: “Brexit is working,” says Lord Frost, adding that those who say it will hit the economy “will have an axe.” to have” .

So Frost’s claims are piling up?

David Frost insists Brexit works, claims critics have ‘ax to grind’ – video

Will Brexit work?

While it may be 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 director of UK in a Changing Europe, to put it on another way to investigate. – what evidence in the future would convince him that Brexit had failed.

“An interesting question”, was his answer. And the answer was not in trade figures but in gut politics. Would the British divisions be healed?

“Proof of failure would be if we’re still debating this in the same way five or six years from now. I think to succeed it has to establish itself in the British polity.”

Economics – what Lord Frost says:

He said the forecasts of a 4% contraction in UK gross domestic product used by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) were not facts but “zombie figures” based on a 2018 government economic services report. that was based on academic studies on the impact of opening “ill-run ex-communist and ex-authoritarian autarchic economies”.

He referred to a 79-page report, EU Exit: Long term Economic Analysis Technical Reference Paper, which looked at five Brexit deal models and their impact on the UK’s 12 regions, taking into account trade and non-trade barriers.

But Frost said his predictions “could not be supported by objective analysis” with growth in the UK “at much the same pace as other G7 countries since the referendum and goods exports to the EU are “at all-time high”.

He also argued that the exact impact of Brexit may never be known as trade figures have been clouded by disruptions caused by the pandemic, the supply chain crisis and the road in Ukraine.

What others say:

Four years later, the OBR maintains its predictions. The latest, March 2022, forecast said the trade deal Frost sealed would “reduce long-term productivity by 4% compared to staying in the EU”.

It said this reflected its view “that the proliferation of non-tariff barriers” such as bureaucracy, compliance with standards, “has been an obstacle to the exploitation of comparative advantage”.

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OECD figures show that the UK is ahead of France, Italy, Germany and Japan in the percentage change in its 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 and the G20 as a whole.

This week, a report from the Resolution Foundation said Britain had experienced a sharp decline in trade openness (total trade as a share of GDP) since 2019, dropping eight percentage points. This compares with a two percentage point drop for France, it added.

“The full effect of the TCA [trade and cooperation agreement] it will take years to be felt, but this move toward a more closed economy,” the authors said.

Menon said: “Early evidence suggests there will be a Brexit impact and recent analysis from the Resolution Foundation suggests it will be significant in the medium term.”

Northern Ireland Protocol: What Frost Says:

This remains unfinished Brexit business and the “biggest problem” caused by Britain’s departure from the EU. “The delicately balanced compromise we made in 2019, recognizing that we were at high risk with it, has fallen apart much faster than most of us thought,” Frost said.

He blamed the EU, which he said refused to look at compromises despite the sensitivities.

What others say:

This is fully in line with government policy, which has been met with disapproval by many parties and with support within the Brexit backbench community and conditional support from the Northern Ireland trade union community.

Something else?

Reports over the weekend suggested Frost had some input in drafting the controversial bill to scrap parts of Northern Ireland’s protocol.

But unscripted comments suggest there was no meeting of ghosts. He expressed surprise that the Article 16 mechanism had not been activated, arguing that it would have been a “faster” way to resolve the dispute with the EU.

This could reinforce the view that it had always been the government’s plan to put forward legislation as a blunt negotiating tool.

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