Brexiteers will have to accept a close relationship with the EU

Editorial: Britain is not in a better position than other countries. It doesn’t matter who gets the vaccine first – inoculation will be a huge, multinational effort

Thursday 03 December 2020 20:59
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<p>Gavin Williamson has come under fire for saying the UK is better than other nations</p>

Gavin Williamson has come under fire for saying the UK is better than other nations

It should not surprise us that Brexiteer ministers have descended to the language of the playground. Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, declared yesterday that the reason the United Kingdom was able to authorise the Pfizer vaccine before France, Belgium and the United States was “because we’re a much better country than every single one of them, aren’t we?”

Even allowing for Mr Williamson’s eccentric sense of humour, and even allowing that there is some truth in the claim that our departure from the EU made it easier for our regulator to approve the vaccine independently, this feels like pride coming before a fall. 

The vaccine decision – which was permissible as an emergency measure under EU law (to which we are still subject) but would have been politically difficult if we had still been a member of the bloc – has prompted some undignified crowing from ministers who should know better. 

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