Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

EU trade friction is price UK has to pay to be sovereign after Brexit – Leadsom

31 Jan 2024 4 minute read
Andrea Leadsom. Photo Richard Townshend/UK Parliament

Friction in the trading relationship with the European Union is the “price” the UK is paying to be a “sovereign state again” after Brexit, a UK Government minister has said.

Dame Andrea Leadsom, a Conservative health minister and prominent Leave supporter, said businesses would have to “adapt” after the introduction on Wednesday of new post-Brexit checks on food, drink and some agricultural imports, including fresh flowers.

The long-delayed new rules are part of the UK Government’s introduction of a series of checks this year.

Fears have been expressed about the disruption the changes could cause to supply chains, with MPs also warning that the new border regime could present “serious biosecurity risks” to the UK.

Dame Andrea, a former business secretary, said traders were made aware that Brexit would mean leaving the European single market, resulting in “additional checks at the border”.

“There was no surprise about that,” she told Sky News.

Told about a florist who has said they will struggle to import flowers from the Netherlands because of the additional checks, Dame Andrea appeared to suggest they should instead buy from the “many parts of the United Kingdom that are flower growers”.

Pressed on whether she was saying businesses should curtail trade with Europe as a result of the added red tape, the minister replied: “I’m not saying that at all.

“Leaving the single market was always going to have implications… I’m just saying that businesses need to adapt to meet the changing environment.”

Opportunity

In another interview with Times Radio, Dame Andrea said: “There is a huge new opportunity for the UK at the same time as continuing to trade, albeit with some friction (with the EU), which is the price you pay for leaving the single market and for being a sovereign state again.

“For me as a Brexiteer, I am still absolutely convinced that this is the right thing to do.”

Home Secretary James Cleverly looked to calm fears about the changes in comments made on Tuesday, saying there would be “no interruption” to food on supermarket shelves as a result of the new rules.

Speaking to broadcasters during a visit to Paris, he said: “We’re going to make sure that these sensible, responsible checks are done in a way that makes no interruption to the supply of food to the shelves, so people don’t need to worry about that.”

On the eve of the arrangements coming into force, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee wrote to Steve Barclay, the Environment Secretary, to express unease about some of the preparations the Government has made.

Goods from Britain have faced similar controls from the EU since it left the bloc’s single market at the start of 2021, but the UK has repeatedly put off checks in the other direction.

Funding

Committee chairman Sir Robert Goodwill said he was concerned over plans that would see departmental funding for spot checks on products of animal origin at Dover reduced by around 70%.

The Tory MP said: “We remain concerned about the location of the physical checks that will be undertaken for commercial loads.”

Under the new post-Brexit system, dubbed the Border Target Operating Model, health checks on foods arriving at Dover will be carried out at a facility in Sevington, Kent, about 22 miles inland.

The Dover Port Authority has been among those expressing concern about the plan, as well as the prospect of funding cuts.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We have strict border controls in place to protect food and animal health safety and these, along with our high biosecurity standards, remain unchanged.

“Following careful consideration of the options for border control posts in Kent, we announced our intention to consolidate physical controls at the inland border facility at Sevington.

“We are confident that Sevington will have the necessary measures in place to appropriately mitigate biosecurity risks that relate to this facility being located away from the point of entry.”

Rules are set to be updated further in the months to come.

By April 30, medium-risk animal products from the EU will undergo documentary, identity and physical checks.

From October 31, safety and security declarations for EU imports will become mandatory, along with a more streamlined dataset for imports.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
12 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Evan Aled Bayton
Evan Aled Bayton
26 days ago

You can’t legislate for numpties. People like Leadsom with fixed delusions are very difficult to deal with. The Conservative Party has repeatedly shown its willingness to damage the country to keep itself and its members comfortable and in office. Paradoxically they have sawn through the branch they are sitting on and their failure in government will impoverish them as well but everyone else will pay a high price for their greed and selfish stupidity.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
26 days ago

Loathsome and Cleverly try to calm our fears…As a Brexiter and representing the 17% still deluded Loathsome should be on the next boat to Anthrax Island, along with Corporal Cleverly who has his own words for just about every word in the OED…

This must represent their playbook as the Tory corpse bleeds out before us…utter gibberish while Sunak, Hunt and Gove empty the safe and sell-off everything that is nailed down or built on foundations hundreds of years old…

@Slash, Burn and Pillage UK…

Kathleen Walker
Kathleen Walker
26 days ago

Brexits are liars nothing they do is efficient
or honestly they go to hell!

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
26 days ago

Dear God I beg you, spare us from this person who defaults to ‘sovereignty’ when batting away Brexit questions including on businesses which have gone to the wall and who fails to admit to the public that current EU states remain sovereign and then showing further that she is clueless by commenting on how the morning after pill works immediately being exposed by a doctor for her wayward and dangerous ignorance, Now at least, she is acknowledging there will be trade friction with the EU which we will ALL have to suffer and pay for just to satisfy her Empire… Read more »

Jeff
Jeff
26 days ago

Leadsom? She has demonstrated her ability over understanding brexit before and there isn’t any, it’s an empty room between her ears on the subject, there is no ability. She was rolled out against the bloke that leads the world trade organisation and it was a word salad. Vote Conservative means keeping this delusion belief that the Tory party has any ability what so ever. There is northing from Brexit that wins anything and the usual suspect press give her space (and all the other duffers on brexit). Dont forget she is rich beyond most UK residents dreams and not short… Read more »

Jeff
Jeff
26 days ago
Reply to  Jeff

Ahhhh hell, speaking of terrible decisions, I see Minford is rearing his head again

Riki
Riki
26 days ago

The UK is an illegal state, plain and simple. The Building blocks of this “Union” was based on the illegal annexation of this country. All laws pertaining to Wales before 1967 are not legally binding. Wish the people of this country would learn we don’t need permission from the English for anything.

hdavies15
hdavies15
26 days ago

Price of sovereignty ? What utter nonsense. It’s the price of having shallow incompetent idiots trying to manage change by deploying a torrent of rhetoric instead of getting down into the detail of how to create a new trading environment. Their new treaties are so pathetic it beggars belief. Again rhetoric trumping real work.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
25 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Have you seen the dead eyed headcase in charge of UK Business plc abroad…expect a pile of nothing burgers off this one…

Rob
Rob
26 days ago

Does Andrea Leadsom even know what Sovereignty means? It is the supreme authority of a nation state, which does not answer to any higher authority. There are bilateral agreements between states, and international institutions such as the UN, or EU, but that is all they are. They are not legally obligated to join or remain a member of these institutions, they do so because its in their interests to do so.
They only way the EU is ever going to become a Sovereign state is if all 27 members unanimously sacrificed their sovereignty. Good luck with that.

Last edited 26 days ago by Rob
Gwyn Hopkins
Gwyn Hopkins
25 days ago

Andrea Leadsom’s statement: “Friction in the trading relationship with the European Union is the price the UK is paying to be a sovereign state again after Brexit” is both untrue and incredibly stupid. The UK was unquestionably a sovereign state before Brexit for if it wasn’t it would not have had the authority or the power to decide to leave the EU in 2020 (or any other time) without the EU’s consent.  

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
25 days ago

“sovereign state” – What utter rubbish ! We’ve never lost our soverreign state status. Delusional. When are we going to stop listening to these idiots ? Until we do, and that means the majority of sensible MPs, the country is going to suffer.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.