Brexit: Jacob Rees-Mogg says the EU is punishing the UK
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GB News anchor Stephen Dixon did not hide his feelings about the European Union this morning as he blasted the bloc for coming across as “petty, small-minded and vindictive”. This comes as the latest Brexit dispute between the EU and UK threatens to spill over into an all-out trade war. The EU has vowed to retaliate with a trade war if the UK goes ahead with plans to unilaterally scrap parts of the Northern Ireland protocol.
Next week, the foreign secretary, Liz Truss, is expected to announce plans for legislation to remove some of the protocol.
This has prompted outrage in Brussels as well as in the US, where the White House has appealed for calm.
Despite the EU’s threats of a trade war, Britain has pledged not to take tit-for-tat action against the EU and would not impose tariffs.
Mr Dixon said: “By saying we are not going to retaliate, that we don’t want to take part in it, and then if the EU does impose tariffs, it makes them look petty, small-minded, and vindictive.
“They have got to be aware of that, haven’t yet?”
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David Henig, from the UK trade forum, told the GB News that the true losers in a trade war would be the ordinary citizens amid the rising cost of living crisis.
He said: “They are a law unto themselves, I’m afraid.
“It may be petty but if they feel that the UK is not abiding by an international treaty, they are united in believing they have to take action.”
Mr Dixon responded: “I would be surprised if it happens.
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“Someone in the EU has got to stand up and say we can’t look so petty. They have to keep people on side.”
He warned that unilaterally imposing tariffs on the UK and launching a trade war would only increase Euroscepticism inside the bloc.
Co-host Anne Diamond remarked: “They don’t seem to mind looking petty and vindictive.
“Remember, they did try to bully us during Covid over the AstraZeneca.”
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Overnight, the former Brexit minister David Frost wrote a newspaper column for Daily Telegraph arguing that the UK should not fear a trade war with the EU.
He said the UK “cannot be defeated” by Brussels and needed to “make sure it is ready” for a trade war.
Lord Frost said: “We may, of course, face EU retaliation, although it would be disproportionate to the trade involved, only arguably legal and entirely self-defeating.
“I am not convinced every EU member’s heart would be in it either. Logic may yet prevail.
“But if it does happen, it will complicate things, but we should not fear it.”
Brexit opportunities minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said on Friday that he doubted the EU would retaliate with something as severe as a trade war if the UK were to remove parts of the protocol, saying it would be a “pretty silly” thing to do.
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