During his major speech regarding Brexit this morning, businesses were informed by Boris Johnson to think “not of EU standards, but global ones,” as he asked that the Leavers and the Remainers to unite and “get on and do it.”
Talking in London, the British foreign secretary set out his vision regarding a path for an outward-facing, global, and liberal Britain after the United Kingdom exits from the European Union. Johnson also made his argument regarding regulatory divergence from the European Union, reiterating his earlier arguments for “taking back control.”
Johnson stated: “It’s all about who decides.
“When it comes to EU standards for washing machines or hairdryers or whatever, it may make sense for us to remain in alignment as a matter of choice, as something we elect to do.
“But I don’t think we should commit as a matter of treaty that forever and a day we should be forever locked in permanent congruence with the EU.”
He said that there might be some “good environmental arguments” that are against changing the rules on some products. However, he added that “when we are not around the table, we should not have laws imposed on us.”
He added:”We would be mad to go through this process of extraction and not take advantage of what it brings.” He stressed that the “Brexit levers” could help in shifting the UK economy from low wage and low-productivity to high wage and high productivity.
Regarding freedom of movement, he said that there was “a case to be made” for some professions to continue to have easy access to the United Kingdom. However, he seemed to dismiss some concerns by those that are in the hospitality profession when he was asked whether that would also apply to workers that are “low skilled, low wage.”
The Foreign Secretary called on those that are determined to stop Brexit from happening “and to frustrate the will of the people” to instead look towards the opportunities of a post-Brexit Britain. He talked about the rapid development outside of the European Union, particularly in the Asia Pacific, and a large number of people that are traveling to countries in the rest of the world.
Johnson stated: “If we get the right deal on aviation, this expansion of UK tourism will continue… [Brexit] is not about shutting ourselves off, it’s about going global.
“I believe [reversing the referendum] would be a disastrous mistake that would lead to permanent and ineradicable feelings of betrayal.
“We cannot and will not let it happen.”
He urged the pro-Leavers to work with those that are on the other side in order to make a success out of Brexit.
He stated: “It is not good enough to say to Remainers – you lost, get over it; because we must accept that many are actuated by entirely noble sentiments, a real sense of solidarity with our European neighbours and a desire for the UK to succeed.”
However, Remainers including Frances O’Grady, Caroline Lucas, and Chuka Umunna, have already dismissed his overtures as hypocritical.
Umunna stated: “Boris Johnson is totally unqualified to preach about the perils of fear and betrayal when he engaged in disgraceful scaremongering with his ridiculous assertion that Turkey was on the verge of joining the EU and he has already betrayed millions of people by going back on his pledge to secure £350m extra per week for the NHS. This is hypocrisy of the highest order.
“He has so far failed to explain why he is campaigning in Cabinet to take the UK out of the Customs Union when there is no other solution to the Irish border issue, and it will jeopardise the Good Friday Agreement settlement. He had failed to explain why the government had failed to start negotiating new trade deals when the campaign he led promised we would do so immediately after the Leave vote.
“Boris Johnson needs to come clean and concede that we cannot have our cake and eat it when leaving the EU. His speech is on Valentine’s Day, not April Fool’s Day.”
Also, O’Grady stated: “A Boris Brexit would mean Brexile. Britain would be locked-out of frictionless trade with Europe. And it would put at risk millions of jobs connected to EU trade.
“Boris is planning to take liberties with our rights at work. His demand for divergence is all about scrapping hard-won rights to paid holidays, equal pay and safety at work.
“We need a Brexit that protects jobs and guarantees workers’ rights. The best option we currently see is through the single market and customs union. They must be kept on the negotiating table.”