Boris Johnson’s SIX key Brexit promises – and how they’ve played out – Express
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The UK left the EU on January 31, 2020, ending its 47-year membership, following the British people voting to ‘Leave’ at the 2016 referendum. However, issues over Britain’s withdrawal from the European trading bloc remain, including the Northern Ireland Protocol, which governs Britain’s post-Brexit trade with the province. Boris Johnson’s bid to sort out the controversial arrangement cleared its first hurdle on Monday as proposed new legislation passed its second reading in the House of Commons.
The Prime Minister has said the proposals, which include unilaterally overriding parts of the Protocol, could become law “fairly rapidly”, continuing his promise to “get Brexit done”.
As the Conservative Party leader remains determined in his efforts to deliver Brexit, Express.co.uk looks at how his promises about Britain’s post-EU future have played out.
This pledge was one of the core messages of Mr Johnson’s successful campaign for the 2019 General Election, which he won in an historic landslide.
His promise has been literally achieved in the sense that he finally led the UK out of the EU, more than three years after the Brexit referendum.
The Prime Minister also prevailed where his predecessor Theresa May could not – getting a trade deal with Brussels.
JUST IN: Britain’s first asylum camp to have ‘bespoke’ health service with own GPs and dentistsThe UK and the EU reached an agreement on Christmas Eve 2020 after years of tortuous negotiations.
A month after the trade deal was inked, the UK also exited the EU’s single market and customs union.
However, in some areas, Brexit issues still need to be resolved, such as the ongoing situation with the Protocol.
Mr Johnson claimed in December 2019 ahead of the election that there would not be additional checks on goods moving from Britain to Northern Ireland or vice versa.
He told Sky News: “The only checks that there would be, would be if something was coming from GB via Northern Ireland and was going on to the Republic.“Then there might be checks at the border into Northern Ireland.”
Around the same time, the Prime Minister also claimed that Northern Irish businesses would not be hit with extra fees or paperwork.
He said: “We will make sure that businesses face no extra costs and no checks for stuff being exported from NI to GB.”
Mr Johnson’s claims ran contrary to what the Government itself said at the time.
A leaked Treasury document warned of a range of bureaucratic measures hitting trade between Britain and Northern Ireland, including customs declarations and various checks.
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Major new driving laws to be introduced in July will massively affect all UK motorists [ANALYSIS]A Government risk assessment in October 2019 also said there would be checks and added administration for goods being sent along this trade route.
More than 157,000 inspections of food shipments and 7,400 inspections on live animals were conducted at Northern Irish ports between January 1, 2021, and March 20, 2022, according to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
Mr Johnson, Michael Gove and Vote Leave Campaign chief Gisela Stuart claimed that “fuel bills will be lower for everyone” after Britain left the EU.
In a joint article for The Sun in May 2016, just days before the referendum, they wrote: “In 1993, VAT on household energy bills was imposed.
“This makes gas and electricity much more expensive. EU rules mean we cannot take VAT off those bills.”
They added: “As long as we are in the EU, we are not allowed to cut this tax. When we vote Leave, we will be able to scrap this unfair and damaging tax.”
It is true that while the UK was in the EU VAT area it was unable to reduce the tax on domestic electricity and gas below its current rate of five percent.However, as the nation battles the ongoing cost of living crisis, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who voted Leave, is still yet to slash the tax or scrap it altogether.
The energy price cap – the maximum price suppliers can charge customers – increased in April and is expected to increase again in October.
The Government has stepped in to help with £400 payments for all households and an additional £650 for people on benefits.
However, VAT on fuel bills in the UK is still charged at five percent.
Throughout the EU referendum campaign, Mr Johnson claimed that the UK would take back control of hundreds of millions of pounds the UK sent to the EU as a member of the bloc – a promise that became one of the most contentious of the Leave vs Remain argument.
The former Foreign Secretary famously toured the country on Vote Leave’s bright red Brexit battle bus, which was adorned with the phrase: “We send the EU £350m a week, let’s fund the NHS instead.”
The senior Tory also repeated the claim in an article for the Daily Telegraph in September 2017.He wrote that “once we have settled our accounts, we will take back control of roughly £350m per week”.
He added: “It would be a fine thing, as many of us have pointed out, if a lot of that money went on the NHS.”
However, due to a long-term EU rebate given to the UK, the total sum the Treasury sent to the EU each week totalled around £252.
Sir David Norgrove, the head of the UK Statistics Authority, wrote to Boris Johnson over the £350million claim, describing it as a “clear misuse of official statistics”.
He said he was disappointed in his repetition of the claim and that it “confuses gross and net contributions”.
This was one of Mr Johnson’s more vague promises of the referendum campaign, with the Prime Minister pledging to “take back control”.
Under the UK’s Brexit deal with the EU, the bloc’s member states retained full access to British waters from 2021 to 2026.
At the time the deal was signed in 2020, Mr Johnson claimed that during this transition period, Britain’s share of its own fisheries will “rise substantially from roughly half today to closer to two-thirds in five and a half years”.
However, the rise the Government claimed the UK would see after Brexit is projected to be far less than expected.The increase will only amount to 12.4 percent, according to a study published in February by the University of York, the New Economics Foundation, the University of Lincoln and marine consultancy service ABPmer.
There were also promises by the Government that waters up to 12 nautical miles from Britain would only be fished in by UK boats.
However, the Government has agreed to let boats from the EU continue to fish in waters between six and 12 miles from the coast.
Global Britain’s ability to strike trade deals with countries of its choosing was one of the ideas that attracted many people to Brexit.
The US would be “first in line” to strike an agreement with the UK after Brexit, Mr Johnson claimed in 2017.However, a deal with Britain’s transatlantic partner is still non-existent.
The Government did ink a deal with Indiana last month, its first trade agreement with an individual US state.
But it remains unclear whether the US and UK’s special relationship will bear fruit in terms of a trade deal between the two nations.
Mr Johnson was also warned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month that Washington could not do a deal with London if it undermined the Northern Ireland protocol.
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