One of the architects of the UK’s departure from the European Union has declared that Brexit “has failed”.
The former MEP Nigel Farage has called out the continuing plight of the British economy since Brexit, as well as the Tories’ inability to get “control of our borders” to “lower” immigration numbers.
“What Brexit has proved, I’m afraid, is that our politicians are about as useless as the commissioners in Brussels were. We’ve mismanaged this totally,” Farage said during an interview on the BBC’s Newsnight program on 15 May. “Brexit has failed. We’ve not delivered on Brexit and the Tories have let us down very, very badly.”
MEP Guy Verhofstadt with the Renew Europe Group noted in a Tweet how this observation comes from “the man who is responsible for it…”
Says the man who is responsible for it… https://t.co/ngSX5WhceH
— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) May 16, 2023
Verhofstadt is not alone is indulging in a degree of political schadenfreude and irony. Across Twitter and much of the mainstream media—which has generally remained anti-Brexit throughout—many are making much hay from Farage’s acknowledgment. What isn’t being reported as much is what Farage also said in the interview about Brexit being influenced by concerns over borders and lowering immigration. This was an “implicit” part of the referendum, Farage says, and the Tory’s failure to deliver on it is a “breach of trust” for those who voted for Brexit:
People voted for Brexit because they thought getting control of our borders meant immigration numbers would be lower. Be in no doubt about this. pic.twitter.com/7MCA1RLUFL
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) May 16, 2023
Farage’s comments come on the back of the UK government confirming that it will not bin all EU laws by the end of 2023 as previously planned—and promised as a key Brexit pledge. Under the Retained EU Law (REUL) bill introduced by the UK government as part of its Brexit manifesto, the majority of the 4,800 EU rules still on British law books were due to be binned—through a sunsetting clause—by the end of the 2023, in what was meant to be a final severance with Brussels red tape.
That number has been reduced to around 600 laws, according to the Daily Telegraph. The change of plan has angered many supporters of Brexit.
Tory anarchy breaks out as revolt looms on Brexit laws, reads the May 13 headline for a Guardian article, which claims that “discipline was at risk of completely disintegrating on the right of the party” in response to the change of plan over the EU laws, coupled with heavy Conservative losses in recent local elections.
Kemi Badenoch, the UK’s Trade Secretary and the MP given responsibility for dealing with EU laws remaining on the UK statute book, has said that the change in policy over REUL is to ensure “proper assessment and consultation” leading to “pursuing meaningful reform” so that UK businesses are not impacted by uncertainty and confusing regulation.
She and the UK government are trying to argue that REUL—and the Tory party—still remain true to the spirit of Brexit.
“For the first time in a generation, the UK’s statute book will not recognise the supremacy of EU law or EU legal principles,” Badenoch wrote.
But other Brits and Brexiteers are not to be placated.
“We haven’t actually benefited from Brexit economically—when we could have done,” Farage says.