Lord Frost has said that a divergence from EU rules was now a “national necessity”, adding that “to some extent unnoticed, we’re making changes to the nuts and bolts of some of the core frameworks underpinning the economy.”
Forst has warned against Britain following ‘European social model’ amid reports of unrest over drift in Downing Street. The Brexit minister wants Britain to be a low-tax offshore trading centre, but Leave voters want EU levels of high public spending.
Speaking at the Guildhall in London on Monday, he told City leaders that his job was not just about settling disputes over the Northern Ireland protocol.
“That is why I have the job I have – it’s about trying to ensure there’s consistency between what’s required by the agreements with the EU, by the FTAs [Free Trade Agreements] with other countries and find the programme of domestic reforms our new freedoms have made possible,” Frost said.
When discussing Covid he said: “I am very happy that free Britain, or at least merry England, is probably now the freest country in the world as regards Covid restrictions. No mask rules, no vaccine passports. Long may it remain so.”
Europe is likely to experience more than two million Covid-19 deaths by March, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.
The WHO said the European region remains “in the firm grip” of the coronavirus pandemic, with reported daily deaths rising to almost 4,200 a day – double the 2,100 deaths a day at the end of September.
It comes as French fishermen are planning to “disturb British interests” by blockading Calais in their campaign to win more licences to work in UK waters, reports The Times.
The blockades, which will be designed to affect goods heading across the Channel from France to Britain, are likely to start at the end of the week.
Details of the operation will be revealed on Thursday, but the trawlermen have made clear their intention to target British supply lines in the hope of emptying supermarket shelves.
France has told Britain all options remain on the table in the row over post-Brexit fishing rights, warning ministers they must be true to their words for continued co-operation.
France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune warned the UK against celebrating “quick wins” over neighbours, with the need to work together on security matters and foreign policy.
He said on Monday night that France wants a “constructive solution” over the number of licences granted to trawlers to fish in British waters, which he described as still being “not at all” satisfactory.
But he said Paris would consider taking action if the dispute is not solved, with threats including tighter checks and a ban on British trawlers landing catches in French ports.