David Davis marks Brexit 8/10 four years on - as Northern Ireland deadlock on the brink of breaking

31 January 2024, 19:16

David Davis ranks Brexit eight out of 10

By Jenny Medlicott

The former Brexit Secretary has labelled the success of Brexit an ‘eight out of 10’ on its fourth anniversary as the end of the Northern Ireland deadlock is in sight.

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The UK government unveiled the details of a deal on Wednesday that sought to end the deadlock in Stormont after two years.

It comes after Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP leader, announced the party executive had accepted Sunak’s Irish Sea border offer following an extensive five-hour long meeting.

The Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont will be restored after the DUP walked out of the power-sharing agreement in February 2022.

Speaking to former Brexit Secretary David Davis on LBC’s Tonight with Andrew Marr, Mr Davis applauded the new deal when asked about the success of Brexit.

Asked how he would rate Brexit out of 10, Mr Davis said: “I resigned from the Cabinet because Theresa May had promised there would be full alignment between northern and southern Ireland, and what’s been going on from then until now is a struggle to make that work without destroying the right to diverge.

“Today they’ve actually done it.”

Read more: 'Less choice and higher prices': New Brexit checks on food imports begin but minister says ‘businesses will move on’

Read more: DUP endorses deal to restore Northern Ireland's devolved Parliament after crunch talks

It comes as the deadlock in Northern Ireland is on the brink of breaking.
It comes as the deadlock in Northern Ireland is on the brink of breaking. Picture: Alamy

Mr David said of the Northern Ireland deal: “It’s a really, really good one. Frankly, if you’d asked me two year ago I would’ve said we couldn’t achieve it.”

Pressed again on how he would rate the success or failures of Brexit out of 10, Mr Davis said: “Now? Eight. If you’d asked me a year ago I would’ve said six.”

The end of the two-year Stormont impasse was signalled in the early hours of Tuesday morning when Sir Jeffrey secured the backing of his party executive for Government proposals aimed at addressing his party's concerns over Brexit's so-called Irish Sea border.

The deal published on Wednesday eases some of the border checks imposed by Brexit that resulted in the political crisis in Stormont.

Dame Andrea Leadsom: “The NHS has had considerably more than an additional £350million a week.”

It comes as businesses have been warned the cost of groceries will go up due to new post-Brexit checks on food and plants.

Asked about the new checks due to Brexit, Mr Davis said: “You keep hearing ‘oh it’s all failed’.

“Well, where is the 1 million unemployed? Not there. We've actually got less unemployed.

“Where's the drop in exports to Europe? We're not there, we've got a 14% increase in exports to Europe.

“Where's the growth problem? Well, actually, we're doing better than most of Europe, it's a difficult time because a Covid.”

The Guild of Fine Food (GFF), which represents 12,000 businesses said extra red tape will make bringing fine meat and cheese into the UK harder.

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

But fears have been expressed about disruption to supply chains, with MPs also warning that the new border regime could present "serious biosecurity risks" to the UK.

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