UK government rejects criticism that Brexit has failed

The government, led by Brexit-supporting Sunak, says Britain is prospering with new-found freedoms

Published : 16 May 2023, 03:23 PM
Updated : 16 May 2023, 03:23 PM

Britain's departure from the European Union has not been a failure, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's spokesperson said on Tuesday, rebuffing criticism from prominent eurosceptic politicians about how Brexit had been implemented.

Nigel Farage, the British politician who helped force a Brexit referendum in 2016 and successfully campaigned to leave the European Union, said on Monday "Brexit has failed".

Asked if Sunak agreed with Farage, that Brexit had failed because politicians had mismanaged the exit from the EU, Sunak's spokesman said: "No. The prime minister has talked about the benefits of Brexit on a number of occasions."

William Cash, a well known eurosceptic in the governing Conservative Party, accused the government on Monday of making "trivial" and "obsolete" changes by announcing plans to remove around 600 of the almost 4,000 EU laws by the end of this year.

Almost seven years after Britain voted to leave the EU, opinion polls show a majority of the public regret leaving the bloc. Britain's economy is expected to grow more slowly than other major economies this year, although economists say Brexit is not the sole cause of the problems.

The government, led by Brexit-supporting Sunak, says Britain is prospering with new-found freedoms, while the opposition Labour Party does not plan to apply to rejoin the bloc if it wins the next general election due next year.

Farage has criticised how the Conservative government has handled its implementation.

"Arguably, now we're back in control, we're regulating our own businesses even more than they were as EU members. Brexit has failed," Farage told the BBC, adding that takeover regulation and corporation tax were driving businesses away. "We've mismanaged this totally."

Asked if the prime minister had sympathy with the concerns of businesses who said they were struggling to deal with government bureaucracy, Sunak's spokesman said the prime minister wanted to "ensure that the UK remains a business-friendly country to invest in".