Ursula von der Leyen ‘needs to shut up’ about Brexit says Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson after she urged the younger generation to make Britain rejoin the EU
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Tory deputy chairman Lee Anderson has said Ursula von der Leyen ‘needs to shut up’ about Brexit after she made comments suggesting the younger generation could ‘fix’ Brexit earlier this week.

The MP for Ashfield told GB News: ‘The generation that fixed the problems in Europe was my grandad’s generation. 

‘He put a British Army uniform on… he went to fight the Nazis, he went all across North Africa, through Sicily, through Italy, seen some horrible things. 

‘That was the generation that fixed the problems in Europe. She needs to shut up.’

Asked if he thought Britain would rejoin the EU within his lifetime, he said: ‘I hope not because if we do I’m moving to Orkney isles [sic].’

The president of the European Commission suggested Britain should look to rejoin the bloc, admitting ‘we goofed it up’ during an interview in Brussels on Tuesday.

Conservative MP Lee Anderson pictured in London in March 2023. The MP for Ashfield said the president of the European Commission 'need to shut up' about Brexit

Conservative MP Lee Anderson pictured in London in March 2023. The MP for Ashfield said the president of the European Commission ‘need to shut up’ about Brexit 

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen speaks at the first International COnference on a Global Alliance to Counter Migrant Smuggling in Brussels, November 28

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen speaks at the first International COnference on a Global Alliance to Counter Migrant Smuggling in Brussels, November 28

Von der Leyen, who is coming to the end of her first term as Commission president, suggested at a Politico event on Tuesday the UK could be on a path to rejoin the trading bloc.

Asked whether she foresaw Britain rejoining, she said: ‘I must say, I keep telling my children: ‘You have to fix it. We goofed it up, you have to fix it.’

‘So I think here too, the direction of travel — my personal opinion — is clear.’

Responding to her comments, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said the government was committed to ‘reaping the benefits of Brexit’.

‘We are delivering on Brexit. We are focussed on the benefits Brexit can bring. 

‘It’s through our Brexit freedoms that we are strengthening our migration system,’ he said.

While there are no plans for the UK to rejoin the European Union, Labour leader Keir Starmer has promised an overhaul of the post-Brexit trading agreement should his party win a general election, expected to take place next year. 

A spokesperson for Starmer said: ‘We’ve set out our position very clearly on that, we’re not rejoining the single market or the customs union. We’re not returning to freedom of movement.

‘Of course we want a good working relationship with the European Union, we want to improve some of the issues that there are on subjects like trade, but no, we’re not rejoining in any form.’ 

Research shows Britons are still divided on the Brexit issue.

Polling this month showed 57 per cent of people in Great Britain now think it was a mistake to leave the EU, compared with 33 per cent who still believe it was the right decision.

The share of people who do not know whether it was the right decision or not has stayed relatively consistent, between 11 and 14 per cent, since 2020. 

Research by Changing Europe (UKICE), a British think tank, has also found just nine per cent of British voters believe Brexit has gone well.

But 61 per cent of Leave voters believe it will eventually turn out for the best. 

Approval ratings of the EU reached an all time high in 2021, with 60 per cent of respondents expressing favourable views of the bloc – higher than the approval rating for the British government among voters at the time.

But support for Brexit remains strong among others. A poll of MailOnline readers showed 78 per cent still believed Britain was right to leave the EU.

More than 2,100 readers have voted on the poll at the time of writing. 

Assessing the relative benefits and shortfalls of Brexit is complicated. This September, the Office for National Statistics revised its assessment of how well the British economy was doing between 2020 and 2021, during the pandemic.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, GDP was up 0.6 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019, instead of down 1.2 per cent as originally reported.

Le Monde noted that if the new calculation is right, and the statistics for 2022 and 2023 not fully corrected, Britain’s economy was 1.5 per cent stronger than its pre-pandemic level – comparable to France and better than Germany (0 per cent) but worse than Italy (2.1 per cent), Japan (3.5 per cent), Canada (3.5 per cent) and the United States (6.1 per cent).

The BBC reported earlier this year that once ‘teething problems’ had been resolved, exports to the UK recovered to pre-pandemic levels, according to official figures. 

But ‘it could be argued trade might have grown more if it hadn’t been for Brexit,’ the broadcaster suggested.

The Telegraph reported on Wednesday that 94 per cent of businesses surveyed have experienced negative effects from Brexit. 

The article noted Dave Ramsden, deputy Governor of the Bank of England, said last week Brexit had ‘chilled’ levels of business investment in the UK. 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (R) welcomes the Prime Minister of Luxembourg Luc Frieden ahead to a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, 29 November 2023

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (R) welcomes the Prime Minister of Luxembourg Luc Frieden ahead to a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, 29 November 2023

A spokesperson for Starmer (pictured during PMQs on Wednesday) said: 'We've set out our position very clearly on that, we're not rejoining the single market or the customs union. We're not returning to freedom of movement.'

A spokesperson for Starmer (pictured during PMQs on Wednesday) said: ‘We’ve set out our position very clearly on that, we’re not rejoining the single market or the customs union. We’re not returning to freedom of movement.’

Think tanks estimated earlier this year Brexit had contributed to a shortfall of 330,000 workers in the UK, mostly in the low-skilled economy, ultimately pushing up prices.

And research by the London School of Economics estimated Brexit was responsible for about a third of UK food price inflation since 2019, adding nearly £7bn to Britain’s grocery bill.



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