Meeting the new EU Ambassador
Meeting the new EU Ambassador

Six years after the UK voted to leave the EU, the Prime Minister is yet to deliver his promised scrapping of EU red tape and restriction. Actually he’s yet to deliver on anything.

During the Queen’s Speech, the Government announced its “Brexit Freedoms Bill”, in which it promises to “cut EU red tape” and to “scrap EU regulations” – but doesn’t clarify which ones or when. Nor does the Bill mention any of the issues currently faced by businesses and the huge INCREASE in burdensome red tape and bureaucracy caused by Johnson’s Brexit.

Further, for all its talk about “post-Brexit Britain”, the Government has refused to make simple and effective changes that would help millions of British people. Firstly, they won’t remove VAT on all energy bills. Labour has stated over and over again that this could be the easiest thing that will make the such a difference to people’s energy bills. During the EU referendum campaign, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson claimed that our membership with the EU was the reason why we couldn’t scrap VAT on energy bills and that it would be the first thing they did if we left. Well turns out, they were wrong: Belgium cut VAT on its energy prices in February 2022, whilst remaining an EU Member State. I have previously written about Brexit and the promise to reduce our energy bills here.

While the Government continues to try and stoke the flames of Brexit divisions and use the EU as the aim of their blame game, Labour has advocated for tangible changes, which many of my constituents have called for. These include:

  • A ban on the import of fur
  • The imposition of VAT on private school fees to fund a learning revolution in State Schools
  • The introduction of US-style bans on the import of goods from China produced using slave labour. As for the regulatory changes the government is proposing, they cannot point to a single example where those changes depend on the passage of the planned Brexit Freedoms Bill. Nor can they provide a single example of additional changes which will follow in due course as a result of this new Bill.

In March 2022, Labour’s shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Kyle MP, visited President Biden in Washington. Meeting academics, journalists, diplomats and politicians, including Speaker Pelosi and House Representative Richard Neal, Peter shared the policies of the Labour Party and discussed the need for peace in Northern Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement was negotiated by a Labour prime minister and one of our great achievements in office. A better, more peaceful and prosperous Northern Ireland is in our DNA.

However right now, our Prime Minister is threatening to rip up the Northern Ireland protocol, an international agreement that HE signed. He told us that his deal was “oven-ready” and would lead to an economic boom. But this has not happen and he is planning another disastrous U-turn. It is unbelievable that amidst a cost-of-living crisis, Johnson is prepared to launch a trade war with our closest neighbours.

Under the Tories, we have become a low growth and high tax country and we urgently need an innovative reboot to our economy and business. It is clear that the Tories cannot make Brexit work. I have previously written about Labour’s plans to tackle Brexit and Business – read it here.

So the question is: what is the Brexit Freedoms Bill for? What will it achieve and how will it improve our lives? In the absence of answers, it is right that the Labour party is cautious about this new legislation. We must scrutinise the Government and hold them to account over their promises and actions.


Labour has been clear that we would emphasis making this Deal work with our businesses, communities and public services. The argument over Leave and Remain is over and in the wake of Russia’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine, we should be spearheading a new and collaborative relationship with our European partners, not stoking the divisions of the past.

Link to Instagram Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Facebook Link to LinkedIn Link to Snapchat Close Fax Website Location Phone Email Calendar Building Search