Politics

Britain’s Brexit minister to claim UK ‘renaissance’ has begun despite shortages

Brexit minister David Frost will declare that the “British Renaissance has begun” as the nation struggles with staffing issues linked to its departure from the European Union.

He will tell the Tory party conference on Monday the “long bad dream” of EU membership is over, as he challenges Brussels to be more “ambitious” to solve separate issues over Northern Ireland.

The Conservative peer’s speech will come as the UK continues to feel the effects of a fuel crisis and faces the prospect of shortages in the run up to Christmas due to a lack of HGV drivers.

British prime minister Boris Johnson appeared to admit that the issues are part of a “period of adjustment” after the departure from the EU.

Mr Johnson said he would not “reach for the lever called uncontrolled immigration” to prevent a feared incineration of 120,000 pigs due to a shortage of abattoir and butchery workers.

Lord Frost will use his speech in Manchester to look ahead to new opportunities presented by Brexit, such as new trade deals and a new immigration system.

“All history, all experience, shows that democratic countries with free economies, which let people keep more of the money they have earned, make their own decisions, and manage their own lives, are not just richer but also happier and more admired by others,” he is expected to say.

“That is where we need to take this country. The opportunities are huge. The long bad dream of our EU membership is over. The British renaissance has begun.”

He will also reiterate a warning that the Northern Ireland protocol he negotiated risks undermining the Belfast Agreement and that the threshold for triggering Article 16 to effectively tear up parts of the deal has been met.

The peer will tell Brussels to be more “ambitious” in its approach and warn that “tinkering at the edges” will not fix the fundamental problems with the post-Brexit deal on Northern Ireland.

His speech will come after days of lengthy queues and petrol stations running dry.

Pig farmers have also warned that up to 120,000 growing animals will have to be slaughtered and incinerated because of an acute shortage of butchery and abattoir workers.

In an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Mr Johnson said the “great hecatomb of pigs that you describe has not yet taken place, let’s see what happens”.

He said “what we can’t do is in all these sectors simply go back to the tired, failed, old model, reach for the lever called uncontrolled immigration, get people in, low wages”.

“There will be a period of adjustment, but that is, I think, what we need to see,” he added. – PA

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