Brexit minister David Frost said the UK is “embarked on a great voyage” as he highlighted changes the government intends to make outside the EU.
Frost said the government intends to create a “pro-growth trusted data rights regime” which would replace the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
He claimed the new regime would be “more proportionate and less burdensome”.
Frost also said the government intends to review EU’s approach to genetically modified organisms, which the UK government thinks is “too restrictive and not based on sound science” and is thus set to reform it.
‘How much did this freedom cost?’
“Brexit is now a fact. This country is now embarked on a great voyage,” Frost said today in the House of Commons.
He added: “We each have the opportunity to make this new journey a success. To make us as a country more contented, more prosperous, more united and I hope everyone will join us in doing so.”
But upon Baroness Wheatcroft asking Frost at what cost the Brexit “freedom” praised by the government has been bought for, Frost said he did not think it was bought at any cost.
He immediately added: “I don’t make any apologies for standing up for freedom, for free enterprise and freedom to think and debate things.
“I think it is axiomatic that free debate, free enterprise, free economies and the ability to change your government will always benefit the countries that have those things.”
But a Goldman study published in 2019 suggested Brexit costs the UK £600m per week, a much bigger sum than the £350m a week sum which the Leave campaign promised for the NHS before the Brexit vote, claiming it was money sent by the UK to the EU.
Lord Grantchester told Frost that supply chain problems are threatening Christmas dinners this year and asked if the government would introduce a 12-month emergency visa, as well as extend agreements on veterinary services to safeguard against diseases and infections.
A request for relaxing the rules around lorry drivers recruitment from the EU has been made several times by different figures over recent weeks, to fill in a gap estimated at 100,000 drivers by the Road Haulage Association – but the government insisted it does not want to rely on foreign workers.
“We mantain the controls that are right for us and we now have the powers to control and manage our own economy as we see fit, we do not have the same thing as the European Union and after 1 July we are unlikely to have the same level of physical checks as the EU,” Frost replied to Grantchester’s request.
He also insisted supply chains and decreasing HGV drivers numbers are a problem “across Europe and beyond”, not just in the UK.
Tory Lord Daniel Moylan added “it’s about time the British government was setting a free trade example to the European Union and indeed shunning them that such an approach could be applied with benefit on the UK’s border with Ireland in place of the undemocratic Protocol.”
Frost continued saying it “makes sense” for the UK to put in place “controls that are right for us”.
He added: “There are of course customs controls which came in on 1 January, we do not have to replicate everything the European Union does.
“We intend to have a world class border by 2025.
“As general principle, it is right that the fewest possible controls are always best, I think that’s always clear and I think we’re not always in control of the controls which the European Union put in place.
“We do believe the benefits of being outside the customs union and in control of our trade policy very much outweigh any disadvantages.”
Frost also said he does not believe UK’s relationships with Brussels and Northern Ireland are poor, despite admitting in June that Leavers are often surprised that relationships with the bloc are “in the state they’re in.”
And he denied suggestions that the UK is “sabre-rattling”, arguing that “we are setting our case” and “being clear about what changes would produce the better situation”.
The statements come amid continuous statements by British ministers that they would like the agreement signed with the EU to be changed, causing worry for the European Union that Britain would not keep its word.
But Frost said today that the government is concerned about the “destabilising” manner in which the Northern Ireland Protocol is being implemented.