Campaigner Peter Stefanovic has slammed Boris Johnson’s claims in Parliament yesterday that Brexit helped the UK thrive.
The lawyer and filmmaker criticised the prime minister’s claim that the “freedom” from EU rules enabled Britain to have the “fastest vaccine rollout in Europe”.
Stefanovic used a clip of June Raine, head of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), in which she stated UK’s supply of jabs has, in fact, been enabled by Europe.
Raine said: “We have been able to authorise the supply of this vaccine using provisions under European law, which exist until 1 January.
“So our speed, our progress, has been totally dependent on the availability of data in our rolling review and a rigorous assessment and independent advice we have received.
“I hope that clarifies the point about the European relationship.”
‘Can he just get away with it?’
Stefanovic told TLE: “Not a single UK news show has reported this and explained to viewers the prime minister lied to parliament yesterday?
“I don’t believe a single MP has called this out and asked that the PM be called back to correct the record. Is it any wonder Johnson believes he can just go on getting away with it?”
Stefanovic also accused Johnson of misleading the public by suggesting the Brexit deal has led to the UK having the “fastest economic growth in the G7” – and claimed the deal has damaged the economy.
“In fact we now know that the damage which will be caused to the UK economy by Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal will be double that of a deadly pandemic which has grounded flights, broken supply chains and caused whole industries to collapse overnight,” he said.
He then quoted the chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility Richard Hughes, who said since the referendum, the OBR has assumed the UK’s post-Brexit forecast to reduce “our long-running potential output by about 4 per cent”.
“In our most recent forecast, as I mentioned, we think the effect of the pandemic is going to reduce that potential output by a further two per cent, and so far the data that we’ve seen of the impact of Brexit, especially taking into account the fact that the new trading arrangements came in in January, is broadly consistent with that assumption we had which is that it would reduce our long running GDP by around four per cent,” Hughes added.
In October, Stefanovic slated Johnson for similar Brexit claims at a Tory conference – when the prime minister said the UK used “new freedoms” to accelerate Britain’s distribution of jabs, and promised to use “Brexit freedoms” to “do things differently”.
Stefanovic claimed at the time that the vaccination programme’s success “had nothing to do with Brexit”.
During his conference speech in Manchester, Johnson also claimed that the UK is heading towards a “high-wage” and “low-tax” economy – despite the Tories’ National Insurance increase from next year representing the highest taxes since the Second World War.
Johnson said: “That’s the direction in which the country is going now – towards a high-wage, high-skilled, high-productivity and, yes, thereby a low-tax economy. That is what the people of this country need and deserve.
“Yes, it will take time, and sometimes it will be difficult, but that is the change that people voted for in 2016.”