Meddling Adonis entices Remainers with plot to tie UK closer to EU – Peer to meet Frost
Brexit: Lord Adonis issues warning over shellfish exports
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The prominent Brexit critic piled pressure on Cabinet Office minister Lord Frost today to agree to meet with him to discuss the option. Speaking in Westminster, the Labour peer said British businesses are facing a “particular problem” with the exports of animals, meat and shellfish.
He pointed to newly-released data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that showed exports to the bloc had fallen by up to 80 percent in January, after Britain left the EU’s single market on December 31.
The former Labour Cabinet minister suggested the possibility of a Swiss-style deal on agri-food shipments to assist trade and called on Lord Frost to meet with him to discuss his plan.
Although Switzerland is not a member of the EU it is closely aligned with the 27-member bloc.
It is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and its trade relationship with Brussels is governed by a series of bilateral agreements.
Lord Adonis told peers: “We are of course where we are.
“But I am sure he would agree we have a particular problem at the moment with the export of animals, meat and shellfish, where exports are down by between 56 and 83 percent.”
He later took to Twitter to tell his followers that Lord Frost, the former chief Brexit negotiator, had given in to his demands for a summit.
The Labour peer urged his followers to offer their opinions on his bid to tie the UK more closely to Brussels nearly five years after Britons voted by 52 percent to break off ties.
He tweeted: “Lord Frost has agreed to meet me and other peers concerned about the collapse of our exports of meat, animals & shellfish to the EU by up to 83 percent.
“I wish to discuss with him the possibility of an access agreement similar to Switzerland’s – views welcome.”
Remainers quickly backed his vision, with some suggesting the UK should rejoin the EU’s single market and customs union.
One woman welcomed the move, saying: “Good. Need to try to reduce the temperature of his ‘madman’ negotiating style.”
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A second person said: “Anything has to be better than what we’ve got now, but ideally a return to full EU membership.”
And yet a third, seemingly, anti-Brexit commentator said: “Some sort of agreement is clearly needed.
“If we could achieve a Swiss-style arrangement without loss of perceived ‘sovereignty’ that would be welcome. “
Speaking in the House of Lords on Thursday, Lord Frost insisted the Government had done its utmost to shield British businesses from the huge changes that occurred when the Brexit transition period ended.
He said ministers had “pulled out all the stops” to help firms do business with the EU post-Brexit.
He urged caution over the latest raft of figures from the ONS, saying “a unique combination of facts” made it inevitable that there would be a dip in trade.
The ONS reported that overall goods exports from the UK fell by £5.3 billion, 19.3 percent, in January.
It was driven by a £5.6 billion, or 40.7 percent, plunge in exports of goods to the EU, the ONS said.
Imports also fell, by £8.9 billion overall (21.6 percent), while imports from the EU dropped £6.6 billion (28 percent), the figures showed.
The falls in imports and exports are the largest since records began in 1997, the ONS said.
A £200 million, 1.7 percent, increase in non-EU exports failed to make up for the decline within the bloc.
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