Boris Johnson mocks Barnier for French border U-turn
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And Ben Habib, who served alongside former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage after both were elected to the European Parliament in 2019 – launched a caustic assessment of the Government’s achievements, suggesting it was failing in a number of key areas, from wealth creation to the pandemic. Mr Johnson used his tum-thumping speech to tout his achievements, pledging to deliver “change that people voted for” in the Brexit referendum.
He further declared: “We took back control of our borders and will pass the Borders Bill.
“Because we believe that there must be a distinction between someone who comes here legally and someone who doesn’t.”
He also hailed the trilateral Aukus deal signed last month with the United States and Australia as “something daring and brilliant that would simply not have happened if we had remained in the EU”.
However, in a scathing analysis, Mr Habib, a tireless campaigner against the Northern Ireland Protocol, was far from convinced by Mr Johnson’s 44-minute oratory.
He told Express.co.uk: “There is a disconnect between the Prime Minister’s claims and reality.
“To get elected he promised the entire country would leave the EU as one United Kingdom – it has not.
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“Northern Ireland has been left behind and our Union is in crisis.”
He said: “He promised to take back control of our cash, our borders and our fish. None of these have been fulfilled.
“We continue to pay billions to the EU, our borders are porous and our fish are at the mercy of their super trawlers.
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“He promised not to enter into a level playing field with the EU and then signed us up into one.”
The combination of Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal and his response to the pandemic had rendered the country highly regulated, with unemployment doubled, supply chains broken and the highest debt and tax levels since World War II, Mr Habib pointed out.
He added: “If wages are increasing they are only doing so as a response to stagflation, not a growing economy.
“He promised not to raise taxes but has done just that with the recent increase in National Insurance.
“This tax hits the working class the hardest.”
Mr Habib warned: “Finally, the Prime Minister’s vision of building back better with his new Green Industrial Revolution will cost the country around £35 billion per year every year until 2050. The figure is mind-bogglingly large.
“This is not fiscal prudence; it is fiscal madness. As ever the cost will fall hardest on the poorest.”
He declared: “There can be no prospect of levelling up the country with his bag of policies.
“At the rate we are going, we will be lucky to avoid bankruptcy.
“That there is a good atmosphere at the Tory Party conference is testimony not to the country’s health but to a government that has no concept of the damage it has done and is still doing.”
The speech marked the first time Mr Johnson was been able to address the party conference since his 2019 election victory and Britain’s subsequent departure from the EU.
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