Brexit is working! Frost hits out at doom-mongers with ‘axe to grind’ and ‘zombie’ figures

Nigel Farage outlines three factors to 'get Brexit done'

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Giving a keynote speech at a conference on the sixth anniversary of the EU referendum, the former minister said there was no proof the UK was suffering from parting with Brussels. And he praised the country’s new found freedoms as he hailed Brexit a success having restored true democracy to Britain.

The Tory peer said there was “no cause for regrets” for quitting the bloc.

Appearing at the UK in a Changing Europe think tank’s annual conference on Wednesday, he said: “Brexit is working.

“We have no cause for regrets about the decision the country has taken and the solutions to the remaining problems are not to be found in going backwards, but in completing the process and following through on its logic.”

He added: “Brexit is fundamentally about democracy.

“It’s about ensuring decisions for this country are taken in this country after proper debate.

“That is now beginning to happen.”

Addressing the economic impact of leaving the EU, Lord Frost said it was impossible to understand the true impact of Brexit due to “a huge amount of noise in the figures” as a result of Covid.

However, he said those claiming a decrease in imports from the continent was a sign of failure had fundamentally misunderstood the data.

“The crucial point to make is that a decline in trade numbers is not the same thing as a decline in GDP, although you could be forgiven for missing this when listening to some anti-Brexit campaigners,” he said.

Official figures used to predict a four percent GDP decline after leaving the EU were in fact “zombie figures” he claimed, based on academic studies of former Communist countries that bore no relation to fact.

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He told those in attendance at the conference in London: “The view that Brexit is hitting us from an economic and trade perspective is generated by those with an axe to grind and cannot be supported by any objective analysis of the figures.

“The UK has grown at much the same pace as other G7 countries since the referendum and, as the ONS points out, our goods exports to the EU are at the highest level ever.”

The former Brexit negotiator continued: “There is a huge amount of noise in the figures because of the pandemic, supply chain disruption, trade diversion, the ONS measurement changes which mean there is a discontinuity between this year and earlier figures, and now the war in Ukraine which has brought significant changes to oil and liquefied natural gas flows via the UK.

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“So it is hard to be confident what if any changes in UK trade are due to Brexit.

“This will, of course, become much clearer over time, but meanwhile anyone who draws firm conclusions from the figures is not really being honest with the data.

“What we can be confident about is that it doesn’t bear the catastrophism that some seek to attribute it.”

During the EU referendum, those campaigning to remain in the bloc, including then-Chancellor George Osborne, were accused of using scare tactics in an attempt to persuade voters to back their campaign.

Nicknamed “Project Fear”, dire economic forecasts included claiming households would be £4,300 worse off by 2030, a sharp rise in unemployment, and a devastating recession.

However, Lord Frost urged Brexit supporters to be “honest” about the “trade-offs” involved in leaving the EU instead of “pretending nothing is going on”.

He said: “I don’t think it’s reasonable to say, as some pro-Brexit people do, ‘nothing to see here in the figures, don’t bother looking at them, it really is not important’.

“I don’t think that’s fair, you have to look at the figures, they’re telling you something, I just don’t believe they bear the constructions that are put on them at the moment.”

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