Friday, 16 Apr 2021

Brexit victory! Lord Frost says UK ‘already seeing results’ of leaving EU amid jab success

Brexit: Maitlis grills Barclay on grace period extension

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So far, more than 21 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. It is the biggest inoculation programme in British history. However, countries in the EU have faced mounting pressure over their comparatively slower jab rollout.

Lord Frost has said Britain’s decision to exit from the EU’s coronavirus vaccine scheme – and instead order its own supplies – was an example of the benefits of Brexit.

He told The Telegraph: “I have always believed that the gains of controlling our own affairs outweigh the short-term adjustments.

“That is what Britain has chosen. And we are already seeing the results of that choice.

“Opting out of EU vaccine procurement has had extraordinary results.

“It will enable us soon, I hope, to cast off all the shackles of lockdown and to return to the full freedom and normal life which a free people have every right to expect.”

Last month, Reuters reported that the French ambassador to the EU Philippe Leglise-Costa called the bloc’s vaccine rollout “a catastrophe”.

But Britain is racing ahead with its rollout after approving its first Covid vaccine on December 2 – three weeks before the EU.

Britain has administered the most vaccines overall compared to other countries in Europe.

Lord Frost also told the paper that Brexit will allow Britain to take on a bigger role on the world’s stage.

He said: “In recent years it was too often claimed that Britain was no longer interested in playing a major international role.

“I never believed that. The British people are internationalist and want to make a difference in the world.”

Lord Frost added: “With Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, our agenda is one of an outward-looking country, confident we can work with others towards common goals.

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“That is our hope for our ties with our European friends and allies too.

“I hope they will shake off any remaining ill will towards us for leaving, and instead build a friendly relationship, between sovereign equals.

“That is what I will be working towards, acting constructively when we can, standing up for our interests when we must – as a sovereign country in full control of our own destiny.”

Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson angered Brussels when he unilaterally chose to give supermarkets and suppliers more time to adapt to post-Brexit trade arrangements with Northern Ireland by extending the grace period to October.

Mr Johnson told the Commons: “The position of Northern Ireland within the UK internal market is rock solid and guaranteed.”

He added: “We leave nothing off the table in order to ensure we get this right.”

The European Commission said Brussels had “strong concerns” over the move because it “amounts to a violation of the relevant substantive provisions of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland and the good faith obligation under the Withdrawal Agreement.”

Lord Frost told The Telegraph that the EU’s behaviour “has significantly undermined cross-community confidence in the Protocol”.

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