Irshadgul News report,
On the third anniversary of Brexit, Boris Johnson has attempted to portray withdrawal from the European Union as a major boost for Britain – but has faced immediate backlash over a dubious claim.
The former prime minister urged people on Twitter to “set aside all this negativity and gloom” about Brexit, despite dire warnings about the UK economy.
On the same day, the International Monetary Fund said that Britain’s productivity in 2023 would be worse than that of every other major country. Even Russia – hit by economic sanctions by the global community because of its invasion of Ukraine – would do better, the IMF said.
Undeterred, the man who formally took the UK out of the bloc promised “the opportunities are huge”.
“Let’s cast aside all the negativity and pessimism we hear about Brexit. Let’s remember the opportunities that lie ahead, and the vaccine roll-out proves it,” he said.
In a social media video, he insisted that the UK’s coronavirus vaccination roll-out happened as quickly as it had “took back control” of the Medical Health Regulation Agency (MHRA).
“We were able to license that vaccine faster than any other European country, and that gives us a significant advantage,” he said.
“So today, on Brexit Day, as we look to that vaccine roll-out, let’s also look forward to all the other ways we can change our country and our economy for the better.”
Was the vaccine roll-out really a victory for Brexit?
Fact-checkers have repeatedly argued that Brexit does not help in the rapid expansion of Covid-19 vaccines.
In December 2020, the then Health Secretary Matt Hancock claimed that the process was easier due to Britain’s exit from the European Union.
“We all do the same security checks and the same procedures, but because of Brexit we’ve been able to speed it up,” the health secretary said in December.
But he was shot down by British officials, who clarified that the strategy had nothing to do with Brexit, and happened under European law.
At the time, Dr June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, said that “we have been able to authorize the supply of this vaccine using provisions under European law”, which then remained in place.
And Kate Bingham, the head of Johnson’s vaccine taskforce, said the accelerated approval in the UK had “nothing to do with Brexit”.
He said the rapid approval of the vaccine by Britain was due to the decision-making process at the British MHRA and that staff were well prepared.
Bingham said: “It had nothing to do with Brexit … but we were organised.”
Johnson’s comments also contrast with recent polling suggesting growing unhappiness with the Brexit outcome and the ongoing dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
While the IMF’s World Economic Outlook did not mention Brexit, economists added grim forecasts of the UK’s exit from the single market with its biggest trading partner.
Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There are some things that are affecting us more than other countries; One in particular is really the loss of people from our labor force.
“We have heard a lot about the fact that we have lost over 500,000 people out of work, people are retiring early, immigrants are not coming from the EU and so on. It is not affecting any other country in Europe.
This reply to Johnson perhaps sums up