“I’ve not noticed any difficulty in access to products from the European Union. Our exports to the European Union are particularly well.”

Lord Frost, House of Lords

December 16, 2021

Facts

Lord Frost implied that there had not been trade disruption as a result of Brexit. But the UK’s trade in goods with EU countries actually fell by 23 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, after the UK left the EU. Meanwhile, trade with non-EU countries was down by only 0.8 per cent, official figures show. 

French exports to the UK were down 13 per cent in January 2021 compared with the average of the previous six months, while French imports from the UK fell 20 per cent, according to the French customs office. It explicitly said: “Trade with Britain is disrupted due to Brexit.” .

Excluding precious metals, imports of goods from EU countries fell by £14bn (or 21.7 per cent) between the final three months of 2020 and the first three months of 2021. Exports decreased by £7.1bn (18.1 per cent). The falls were consistent across a number of trading partners, the ONS said.

Verdict

Lord Frost’s claim was misleading. This was especially baffling since as the minister then responsible for Brexit Lord Frost would have been expected to have a solid grasp of trade issues. His false claim remains on the Hansard record in defiance of the Ministerial Code.

We approached Lord Frost for comment, but received no reply. 

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