Brexit: Lord Jones slams 'appalling' reactions to UK's departure
The UK’s membership of the single market and customs union expired at 11pm – four and a half years after the Brexit referendum which sought to settle the issue but sparked political turmoil. But Remainers across the country are already calling for Britain to rejoin the Brussels bloc, sparking the furious reaction of Brexiteer Lord Digby Jones.
The former CBI chairman told TalkRADIO: “The most passionate Remainers and some of the media – I mean some of the media yesterday when I was watching it, you’d have thought the nation was in mourning.
“It is appalling to see how some people are still looking in the rearview mirror and they’re not looking through the front windscreen.
“And it won’t fail, but it won’t be brilliant unless we grasp it to go forward.”
Former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine insisted the UK will be better off inside the European Union as he pledged to renew his battle against Brexit on Friday morning.
“The battle starts again. With a chapter closed last night, a new chapter opens,” he told LBC radio.
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“First of all, it is up to us who believe in a closely-knit relationship with Europe to use the same determination Brexiteers did to disrupt the European partnership.
We want it back, and the only logical answer is to argue for that decision.”
“What we’ve got is a deal which is a running battlefield every time we want to change our position,” the former Tory deputy leader argued.
He added that whenever a rule change from either side will occur in the coming years, the deal agreed by Boris Johnson “fans the flames of dissent between us and the continent.”
He continued: “Leaving is going to inflict a significant dent on Britain’s economic position, none of that is compensated by any of these rollover deals.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the EU had provided the UK with a “safe European home” during the 1970s, but the country has now “changed out of all recognition” with global perspectives.
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His Christmas Eve deal with Brussels, which comes into effect immediately, allows for the continuation of tariff-free trade with the EU single market – though businesses and individuals will have to follow new rules.
The UK has reached several agreements with non-EU countries – such as Japan – to ensure continuity of trading arrangements for British companies from January 1.
Mr Johnson, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said the “great new deal” honoured the “most basic promises” of the 2016 referendum, and added that the UK has “taken back control of our money, our laws and our waters”.
“And yet it is also the essence of this treaty that it provides certainty for UK business and industry, because it means that we can continue to trade freely – with zero tariffs and zero quotas – with the EU.”
Under the new arrangements, freedom of movement rights will end, and while UK citizens will still be able to travel for work or pleasure, there will be different rules.
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Passports must be valid for more than six months, visas or permits may be needed for long stays, pets will need a health certificate and drivers will need extra documents.
The automatic right to live and work in the EU also ceases, and the UK will no longer take part in the Erasmus student exchange programme.
Hauliers will face new rules, and lorry drivers heading for the Port of Dover will have to ensure they have a Kent Access Permit before entering the county on their way to the border.
Travel to Ireland will not change, but the Northern Ireland Protocol governing trade between Great Britain and the region entered into effect at 11pm.
It means Northern Ireland will remain in the EU single market for goods, and will apply EU customs rules at its ports, even though the region is still part of the UK customs territory.
The protocol will also see Northern Ireland follow certain EU rules on state aid and VAT on goods.
Gibraltar, whose sovereignty is disputed by Spain and Britain, will remain subject to the rules of the free-travel Schengen area, keeping the border with Spain open.
Government officials insisted the necessary border systems and infrastructure in the UK are in place, and they are ready for the “new start”.
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