Brexit: UK ‘can be a global trading nation without EU’ says MP
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The EU has been widely criticised for its glacial rollout as just 11.3 percent of people over the age of 18 have received their first dose of a vaccine, according to yesterday’s figures. Only 4.9 percent of people have received both jabs of a vaccine.
Whereas, more than 30 million people in the UK have received at least one jab of a vaccine.
Following the EU’s disastrous handling of the coronavirus vaccine rollout, Richard Bootle, one of the City’s leading economists, said the UK will succeed outside the EU if it stops “doing things the EU way”.
In his latest column piece in the Telegraph, Mr Bootle said: “The lesson is clear: the EU doesn’t work.
“If Britain is to succeed outside the Union there is no point in doing things the EU way.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Image: Getty)
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (Image: Getty)
“Divergence is the way forward.
“This goes far beyond the procurement and distribution of vaccines.”
Mr Bootle went on to say how the glacial vaccine rollout in the bloc is not a one-off but “fits in with an established pattern of bad EU decision-making”.
Despite the UK successfully securing vaccine supplies, Mr Bootle argued it does not settle the argument of whether Britain was right to leave the EU.
EU member states halted use of AstraZeneca vaccine (Image: Getty)
He continued: “Yet it would be quite wrong to conclude that the contrast between the EU’s handling of the vaccination programme and our own settles the question as to whether we were right to leave the EU.
“We still haven’t had long enough to demonstrate a new successful pattern of British decision-making outside the EU.
“Securing vaccine supplies and administering the rollout is merely a good start.”
The row between the UK and the EU has been escalating since the Commission threatened Britain with a ban on vaccine exports.
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Coronavirus cases around the world (Image: Express)
At the end of January, a row over coronavirus vaccine supplies prompted the EU to use the “nuclear” option of invoking Article 16.
This is part of the Northern Ireland Protocol which governs the island’s trading arrangements with the EU and Great Britain.
Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen threatened to ban the AstraZeneca vaccine – which was developed with Oxford University – from being exported from the continent.
She said the pharmaceutical company must “catch up” on deliveries to the EU before they export to other countries.
Boris Johnson signed a Brexit deal in December (Image: Getty)
Mrs von der Leyen said: “I think it is clear that first of all the company has to catch up.
“[It] has to honour the contract it has with European member states before it can engage again in exporting vaccines.
“We want to explain to our European citizens that they [can] get their fair share.”
Mr Johnson warned the “blockades” were “not sensible”.
Ursula von der Leyen threatened to ban exports of vaccines (Image: Getty)
Downing Street warned Brussels to “abide by its commitments” to send jabs manufactured on the continent to the rest of the world.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We would expect the EU to continue to abide by its commitments.
“The global recovery from coronavirus relies on international collaboration.
“We are all dependant on global supply chains, putting in place restrictions endangers global efforts to fight the virus.”