Lord Frost, the former Brexit minister, said he wanted it Boris Johnson would stop making “actually wrong statements”.
Speaking six years after the EU referendum at an event hosted by the think tank UK in a Changing Europe, he claimed that Brexit worked, but urged Brexit supporters to be “honest” about the trade-off of leaving the EU.
Asked about the prime minister’s claims that there were more people at work now than before the pandemic, which has been criticized by the Office for National Statistics, the former Brexit minister said:
I wish he would not say things like what is obviously not true and come up with factually incorrect statements.
But in the end, it is up to the Prime Minister’s own party and MPs to decide how they want to do things or not.
He denied that Brexit had led to a collapse in confidence in British politics.
Britain’s exit from the EU should be seen as a “gateway” to a “broader project for national renewal” for Britain.
The British “political elites” have “forgotten how to govern” in the EU, he claimed, but that it would get better with time.
The task now is to devise a meaningful program for supply-side reforms, focused on increasing the economy’s production capacity, and to drive it through.
But he warned that the government needs to “raise its stakes massively” if Brexit is to lead to a “visible economic return”.
If Brexit is still being debated in the same way in five or six years, he said, it would be “proof of failure”.
On honesty in terms of trade-offs, he said:
I think it would be much better to be honest about these things and show where the opportunity to make things better really exists instead of pretending that nothing is happening.
Boris Johnson visited the Rwandan president this morning, while voting began in Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton, where the Conservatives face two important by-elections.
The Prime Minister is in Kigali, where he visited Paul Kagame in his office after strong criticism of his deportation policy to the East African country.
Last night, before boarding his plane, he urged critics to stop their “condescending” views on Rwanda.
Tomorrow, he faces a potentially awkward “cup of tea and catch-up” with Prince Charles in Kigali, after the heir to the throne criticized the government’s plan to fly people there on a single ticket as “shaking”.
After arriving at the entrance to the president’s office by car, PA reports, he went up stairs with a red carpet and shook the president’s hand.
They then walked next door to the president’s meeting room, where they sat in white armchairs in front of a Union flag and a Rwandan flag.
Johnson said: “How are you? Very good to see you. What an exciting time to be here in Rwanda. Congratulations on taking over as President. This is going to be absolutely fantastic.”
Sir. Kagame said, “It’s a pleasure. Thank you.”
The media was then asked to leave the room.
Meanwhile, in Britain, both seats were held by the Tories before the midterm elections were triggered after the resignation of two disgraced MPs. Labor are the clear favorites to win at Wakefield and the Conservatives are in close race with the Lib Dems at Tiverton and Honiton.
Polls, which opened at 7.00, closes at 22.00, and the results are expected during the night.
As Peter Walker, the Guardian’s political correspondent, reported this morning, the results will be seen as one hugely important verdict from voters on Boris Johnson’s premiere. A double defeat is expected to spark speculation about a new leadership challenge from his party.
It’s the 15 candidates standing in Wakefield, including the Conservative Nadeem Ahmed, Labor’s Simon Lightwood and Jamie Needle for Lib Dems.
There are eight candidates in Honiton and Tiverton, including Lib Dems’ Richard Foord, Helen Hurford for the Conservatives and Liz Pole for Labor.
The by-elections were called after the respective MPs withdrew in disgrace. Imran Ahmad Khan resigned in Wakefield after being convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage boy while Neil Parish resigned in Tiverton and Honiton after watching pornography in the Commons.
The seat in West Yorkshire had been secure Labor before Khan took it over for the Conservatives in 2019, and Labor is the clear favorite to win on Thursday. The Devon constituency, on the other hand, is seen as neck-and-neck between the Conservatives and Liberal Democratsdespite the fact that the seat in its various forms has been strongly Tory for more than a century.
Parish won in 2019 with a majority of more than 24,000. If the Lib Dems wins, it will be billed as the largest majority ever toppled in this way, even though there have been higher percentage fluctuations.
Losing Tiverton and Honiton is likely to be of particular concern to Conservative MPs, not only given the size of the majority, but also given that it would be another rural, Brexit-minded Tory stronghold to switch to Lib Dems in less than six months. In December, Lib Dems train North Shropshireand toppled a Tory majority of nearly 23,000 after former MP Owen Paterson withdrew from a lobbying scandal.
I want to take care of the UK politics blog today. For all strike-related news, please follow Rachel Hall following developments here:
If you have any tips or suggestions, please contact: [email protected]