One year on, it’s clear that Brexit has failed on its advocates’ own terms

Support for staying in the EU has risen in most member states, partly because Brexit is perceived as a disaster, writes John Springford

<p>Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen announced a  last-minute Brexit deal on Christmas Eve 2020 </p>

Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen announced a last-minute Brexit deal on Christmas Eve 2020

Now that the Brexit deal has been in force for a year, it’s worth looking at initial claims from the politicians who forced through an exit from the EU’s single market.

David Davis said the trade deal would deliver “the exact same benefits” as membership of the EU. Boris Johnson asked: “Do you seriously believe that they would put up tariffs against UK produce of any kind?” Michael Gove claimed Brexit would encourage member states to take back powers from the EU, saying, “what will enrage and disorientate EU elites is the UK’s success outside the union” and that, “the EU’s peoples … will see that a different Europe is possible”.

All those claims turned out to be false. We now know that the UK-EU trade deal has imposed sizeable costs on importers, exporters and employers. The EU did put tariffs up. And the EU has gained more powers, rather than dissolving into a looser federation.

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