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June 23 marked eight years since the referendum, which saw Britain narrowly vote in favour to leave the European Union. To observe the milestone, the pro-Brexit newspapers came out in force, dedicated op-eds and columns to apparent Brexit benefits.

A Telegraph View piece entitled ‘Brexit is working’ argued that the vote to leave was the right decision eight years ago and is the right decision now. The article offers little in terms of why it was the right decision, other than the trade deals that have been signed with Australia and New Zealand, which, according to the report, “would not have been possible while we were still a member of the EU.”

The post-Brexit trade deals with the two nations were negotiated by Liz Truss during her time as trade secretary. They have been lauded as “historic” by the government but have prompted criticism. One criticism is that the deals are one-sided and especially disadvantageous to British farmers. The government’s own calculations forecast that the deal with Australia will have a negligible long-term contribution to the UK economy, predicting it will increase GDP by just 0.08 percent by 2035.

George Eustice, who was environment secretary when the trade pact with Australia was struck in December 2021, admitted that it was “not actually a very good deal” for Britain. Eustice, an ardent Brexiteer, criticised the agreement for giving too many concessions to Australian and New Zealand farmers.  “Overall the truth of the matter is that the UK gave away far too much for far too little in return,” he told the House of Commons.

The deal was also criticised due to Australia’s record on environmental issues. The Trade Justice Movement labelled the deal as a “disaster for UK climate policy.”

“The UK has just signed a trade deal with Australia, a country with one of the world’s worst records on tackling climate change,” it wrote.

To make further mockery of the Telegraph’s Brexit is working claims, analysis published this month by the London School of Economics, found that 20,000 small businesses had stopped exporting to the EU due to red tape created by the UK’s exit from the bloc’s single market.

Shevaun Haviland, chief executive of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), has urged the winner of the general election to deepen the current EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement to boost economic growth.

“We need to stop walking on eggshells and start telling it like it is. The current plan is not working for our members,” she told the group’s annual international conference in London.

As analysis repeatedly unearths Brexit’s failings, readers were quick to share criticism of the Telegraph’s ‘Brexit is working’ article.

One X user described the article as “propaganda about Brexit.” Another said they wished we had a more regulated media, saying: “Lies like this shouldn’t be allowed to go unchallenged.”

One reader wrote: “Another misleading article claiming Brexit is not a failure. How is: inability to freely travel in Europe; shortages of medicines; food shortage etc., signs that Brexit is working – put your glasses on.”

“It’s difficult to read such a pile of nonsense,” was another comment.

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

The post The Telegraph claims Brexit has been a success, but its readers disagree appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.


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