BBC radio host Jonathan Freedland branded Brexit consequences a “fiasco” earlier this week as he claimed the UK’s decision to leave the European Union has left the country facing harder economic times. Mr Freedland said that the aftermath of Brexit was a “fiasco” as a result of “friction” caused by the post-Brexit trade arrangements.
In his argument, he cited forecasts from the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) that suggest the UK would experience lower growth than the rest of the EU coming out of the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5’s Nicky Campbell on Wednesday, May 11, he said: “I’m talking about the implications of the implementation of it. It’s a fiasco, it’s a disaster for the country.
“You have the Government’s own Office for Budget Responsibility estimating that Brexit will reduce the country’s output, its GDP, by four percent which is twice the impact or damage of the pandemic.
“This was a self-inflicted wound and there’s a reason why Britain is lagging behind in growth now, after the immediate hit of the pandemic, compared to other countries in the European Union.”
He added: “It has cost us a huge amount, people involved in it, supporting the bureaucracy, the form-filling, the checks they now have to do…this is a huge drag and it causes friction on trade.”
As a result, Express.co.uk readers were asked their opinion on whether Brexit was a mistake.
In a poll that ran from 11am on Wednesday, May 11, to midday on Friday, May 13, Express.co.uk asked: “Was leaving the EU a mistake?”
A whopping 20,702 people voted and the overwhelming majority – 79 percent (16,283 people) – said “no”, leaving the EU was not a mistake.
A further 21 percent (4,342 people) said “yes” leaving the EU was a mistake.
Meanwhile, 77 people said they did not know either way.
In the thousands of comments left below the accompanying article, there was clear support for Brexit.
One user, Youmustbejoeking said: “Leaving the EU was NOT a mistake!”
Username NWO3 wrote: “No, it is not a mistake and it will never be a mistake to be free and independent.”
Username Walesdad wrote: “The only mistake that the UK made as regards leaving the EU was that we should have done it years before we did.”
In March, the OBR forecasted that Britain’s international trade will remain at less than 15 percent than when still in the EU.
OBR chairman Richard Hughes attributed the forecast to the assumption of a fall in the intensity of trade and the economy evolving to be “less open”.
Username JL77 said: “No leaving the EU was the best thing we have done in over forty years. All countries are facing hard economic times, nothing to do with Brexit.”
Other readers commented in support of leaving the EU with username Peter014 writing: “The best thing we ever did. You can’t put a price on freedom.”
While username English1 said: “Leaving the EU was one of the best and proudest moments of my life.”
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However, some felt that the Brexit they were promised had not been achieved.
Like username KatMoi who said: “The promises I voted for have not been implemented so up to now I would say Brexit has been a total disaster.”
And username Brifre who wrote: “Brexit is an unmitigated disaster for the UK.”
Meanwhile, others said that leaving the EU was not a mistake but has concerns over how the country was being run post-Brexit.
Username KateN said: “No, it was the best thing we have done in the last century. Now it’s up to the politicians to act on the vote to Leave and get on with it.”
Another, username LucyLansi, said: “Brexit was NOT a mistake but a great British freedom achievement. Theresa [May] and then Boris [Johnson] were our election mistakes. We need a strong leader who should prioritise Brexit.”