'UK is an international laughing stock': James O'Brien reacts to Brexit latest

25 January 2021, 14:55

By Fiona Jones

This was James O'Brien's powerful reaction to UK firms saying they are being advised by the Government to set up in the EU to avoid trade disruption.

UK companies have been hit by extra charges, taxes and mountains of paperwork, leading some to stop exporting to the EU altogether.

It comes after UK fisheries have experienced "continuing chaos", with lorry-loads of live seafood and fish destined for restaurants and shops in Europe being rejected because they are taking too long to arrive due to post-Brexit bureaucracy.

The Cheshire Cheese Company founder Simon Spurrell told James that he has been left with a £250,000 'Brexit hole' and has been advised to set up in France, despite redirecting investment from the UK.

James pointed out that the UK predominantly wrote the rules which set out how third countries conduct trade with the EU, with the single market legislation being regarded as one of Margaret Thatcher's greatest achievements.

James said: "We wrote the EU rules which third countries must abide by, we then voted to become a third country, we are now moaning about what the EU rules which third countries must abide by.

"We are an international laughing stock and it's all entirely self-inflicted."

He continued: "25 days in and it's falling apart at the seams and there's no way back, that's why we can't talk about it endlessly...

"And when generation heads start making moves to rejoin we won't be able to without adopting the single currency...it is just unbelievable."

James attributed the Brexit situation to influential pro-Brexit figureheads: "The people that did this to you must be held to account. The people that turned you into this manipulated, quasi-xenophobic, anti-patriotic person while insisting all the time you were actually the total opposite of these things.

"They've turned you into someone who has harmed your country, your future and your children's future. I'm not going to hold you responsible for that, I'm going to hold them responsible."

Read more: James O'Brien reacts to 'dire' situation for UK fishermen 'conned' by Brexit deal