Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”Our Freeport. Our control of immigration from the EU. No longer sending huge net payments to Brussels. No longer being subject to the CJEU. Our faster vaccines roll out. Not being part of a European Army. Shall I continue?!”

Simon Clarke MP, Twitter

Facts

Upon being asked on Twitter to “name one brexit benefit” Simon Clarke replied with “Our Freeport.  Our control of immigration from the EU.  No longer sending huge net payments to Brussels.  No longer being subject to the CJEU.  Our faster vaccines roll out.  Not being part of a European Army.  Shall I continue?!”

Clarke described “Our Freeport” as a Brexit benefit. In fact Britain used to have 7 freeports between 1984 and 2012. The UK was able to create freeports while in the EU; Brexit only gives the UK more freedom to determine the concessions it can give within freeports.  

Nor was the “faster vaccines rollout” a Brexit benefit. the UK had already put into law its own route for authorising vaccines before Brexit took effect, meaning we did not have to rely on the European Medicines Agency. Even if we were still a member of the EU, the UK regulator would have been able to take this decision on its own because EU law already allowed it. The EU legislation took effect in the UK in 2012, long before Brexit was on the cards.

A UK government press release from 23 November 2020 spelt this out in terms. “If a suitable COVID-19 vaccine candidate, […] becomes available before the end of the transition period, EU legislation which we have implemented via Regulation 174 of the Human Medicines Regulations allows the MHRA to temporarily authorise the supply of a medicine or vaccine, based on public health need.”

Britain was still bound by the EMA regulations when the vaccine rollout began in December 2020.

The head of the MHRA, June Raine, clarified the situation when she said: “we have been able to authorise the supply of this vaccine using provisions under European Law which exist until 1st of January.” 

Verdict

Simon Clarke’s list of Brexit benefits was largely rubbish.

We emailed Mr Clarke’s office offering him the chance to respond. The email was received, but no reply. 

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