‘How stupid do you have to be’ Brexiteer expert under attack as he defends UK independence

Economist claims Brexit is 'golden opportunity' for UK trade

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Journalist Simon Jenkins insisted that the UK must agree to the trade rules of other countries bigger than them in a Brexit row. He told Times Radio: “If you want to trade with another country, you have to agree on the rules. If that country is much bigger than you are, which is the European Union is, you’re going to have to abide by their rules or you won’t trade with them.

“Anyone who thought leaving the EU was going to be less bureaucracy is just daft. And how stupid do you have to be?

“You lose sovereignty over being able to choose how you make up the rules that are clearly the case but beyond that, it’s mostly meaningless.”

He added: “We’re talking about the rules that concern trade, not the country. Sovereignty implies somehow we’re losing control. It’s trade that’s the problem.”

Mr Jessop replied: “For a start, I think Norway is a member of the single market and not the customs union, I think it’s important to separate those out.

“The single market is what gives you the freedom of movement and various things; people, capital, goods, and services.

“That’s a clear positive. Anything that increases barriers to trade is bad whether that’s with the EU or anyone else.

“But there’s a price that comes with that from the EU which is that you have to accept this huge mass of rules and regulations.

“Without wanting to re-run the whole 2016 referendum debate, a lot of the points about Brexit was to have those rules set by the UK rather than internationally.

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“The customs union is a bit different, it’s about the tariffs you set on trade with the rest of the world.

“If we remain within the customs union as some people advocate, we lose a lot of our independence and ability to do free trade deals.

“There’s an important trade-off here; being in the customs union makes it easier for us to trade with Europe but prevents us from doing free trade deals with the rest of the world and lowering trade-offs unilaterally.

“I think the debate is about where these trade-offs lie.”

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It comes as the implementation of full post-Brexit checks on goods crossing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will be delayed further to allow talks to continue between the UK Government and European Union.

Brexit minister Lord Frost confirmed on Monday that the Government will continue its “current basis” approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol as he looks to secure concessions from Brussels on how the cross-border terms are operated.

The announcement, which had been hinted at by Downing Street, commits to a further truce in the so-called “sausage war”, with another grace period rollover enacted to ensure there are no further blockages to trade across the Irish Sea next month.

EU rules prevent chilled meat products from being imported into the single market and the terms of Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit arrangements mean following the bloc’s regulations.

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