Brexiteer caller clashes with Lewis Goodall
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LBC’s radio host Lewis Goodall and caller Keith from Newington engaged in a furious row over whether the European Union is afraid of the UK making a hypothetical comeback to the bloc. The heated argument started as Keith claimed the EU is terrified of the UK – and most specifically London – retaking its role as Europe’s biggest financial hub. The radio host rejected his argument, saying the UK’s economy has performed badly in the post-Brexit years.
LBC caller Keith said: “The issue is that England became the major financial institution of the world through international trade.
“And we eventually dominated the European countries and now they’re terrified of us.
“And going back into the EU and allow them to control us and stop us because of all those ridiculous regulations that they’d apply to us top stop us.
“They’re frightened of us.”
LBC’s Lewis Goodall challenged the caller, asking who exactly is afraid of Britain.
Keith replied: “Well, the EU.”
But the radio host pushed back against his claim, saying: “I can tell you, they’re not – they’re not frightened of us. Why would they be frightened of us? We’ve got a massive current account deficit, and we’ve got a massive trade deficit. I don’t think they’re frightened of us, frankly. Our trading ability is really poor because we import far more than we export.”
Keith said: “That’s one of the first problems. And the problem is there. It is that the British are the greatest entrepreneurs and inventors in the world: the aeroplane, the computer, all sorts of other things.”
Lewis Goodall challenged the caller: “I think lots of countries invent lots of different things, to be honest, Keith. I don’t think we can claim that we are the best at absolutely everything.
“That’s a little bit imperial.”
The caller’s claim comes as the possibility of the UK re-joining the European Union came back on top of the political agenda.
The Sunday Times reported that senior government officials are planning to take Britain on the path towards a Swiss-style relationship with the bloc in a bid to cut the Brexit red tape whilst preventing freedom of movement.
However, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was quick to rule out a Swiss-style trade deal and instead promised that the existing Brexit arrangement could “deliver enormous benefits for the country”.
Speaking at the CBI annual conference, Mr Sunak said: “Let me be unequivocal. Under my leadership, the UK will not pursue any relationship with Europe that relies on alignment with EU rules. I voted for Brexit. I believe in Brexit. Brexit can deliver enormous benefits and opportunities for the country.”
He mentioned migration as one of the benefits the UK has gained from Brexit, noting that “we have proper control of our borders . . . we are in control”.
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The Swiss-style deal, offered by the EU’s Brexit negotiator Maros Sefcovic during Brexit talks, was rejected by then-Brexit negotiator David Frost because of its required regulatory alignment.
Under this configuration known as the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the UK would be able to strike a series of bilateral agreements but would be forced to comply with EU trade rules and standards. In essence, it would make the UK a rule-taker instead of a rule-maker.
CBI Director General Tony Danker has called on the Government to rethink its post-Brexit immigration model to bring in more skilled and unskilled workers to fill work shortages and pull the plug on the fiscal hole. He added it was an essential pre-requisite to create growth.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has acknowledged Brexit had raised trade barriers between Britain and its biggest trading partner but ruled out re-joining the EU’s Single Market – an option that British businesses have been calling for since the post-Brexit trading rules came into place in 2021.
However, he claimed it will be possible to remove the “vast majority” of trade barriers over time but failed to mention how he would achieve that outcome.
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