Boris Johnson urged to ‘finally cut shackles’ that tie UK to EU orbit

PM urged to 'cut shackles' that tie UK to EU

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The Prime Minister, marking a year since the post-Brexit free trade deal with the European Union came into force, said the Government would “go further and faster” to take advantage of the “enormous potential that our new freedoms bring” in the new year. But it comes as January 1 ushers in new barriers to trade with the bloc, with rules stating that importers must make a full customs declaration on goods entering the UK from the EU or other countries. Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib has lashed out at Mr Johnson for “shirking opportunities”.

Speaking to GB News, Mr Habib said: “If you ditch the trade and cooperation agreement and set the UK truly free of all the shackles in it that actually keep the UK in lunar orbit about the EU, we would be free, we would be an independent country.

“The border would be where it should be which is between Northern Ireland and Ireland where it has been for 100 years and recognised as part of the Good Friday Agreement.

“But the Prime Minister has shirked every opportunity he has had to give effect to that border choosing instead to partition the UK.

“I don’t see any solution other than the Government effectively accepting greater alignment with the EU and thereby dulling down the impact and the optics of the border in the Irish Sea.

“But the border in the Irish Sea will remain no matter what the Prime Minister’s New Year’s resolutions are.

“He’s going to buckle on that point.”

Traders will no longer be able to delay completing full import customs declarations for up to 175 days, a measure that was introduced to cope with the disruption of Brexit.

The British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) said new border controls on animal and plant products from the EU could see major delays at ports in the new year.

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The UK imports five times the amount of food it exports to the EU, so the potential for massive delays and food supply issues in January is high.

Mobile phone users could also be affected with two of the UK’s four biggest networks – EE and Vodafone – reintroducing roaming charges for customers travelling to Europe from the start of 2022. Three is set to reintroduce them in May 2022.

However, the Prime Minister, heralding the departure from the EU for allowing Britain to forge its own policies on immigration, coronavirus vaccines, bilateral trade deals and standards, said his administration wanted to “cut back on EU red tape” and restore “common sense to our rulebooks” in 2022.

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Downing Street said officials are reviewing thousands of individual Brussels-made regulations which have automatically been kept on the statute book after Brexit – known as retained EU law – to ensure they benefit the UK, with laws that do not stand up to that criteria set to be reformed or repealed.

According to the Daily Telegraph, one law that could be abolished is a ban on pint-sized bottles of champagne, lifting a restriction against imperial measurements of sparkling wine that has been in place since Britain joined the common market in 1973.

Alongside the retained law review, officials said work is taking place across Whitehall to see where the UK can take the lead, including on artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, reforming data rights to be “more proportionate and less burdensome than the EU’s GDPR” regime, and reforming medical devices regulation to allow for the introduction of “cutting edge technology” in the health sector.

No 10 said the plans were designed to build on recommendations from the Taskforce for Regulatory Reform, Innovation and Growth (TIGRR), which has reported back to ministers after being led by former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith.

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