Blog: Brexit is doomed, says Boris Johnson’s favourite paper – The Independent

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The Conservatives have made such a “hash” of Brexit that the project is probably “unsalvageable”, according to Boris Johnson’s favourite newspaper.

An editorial column in The Telegraph – where Mr Johnson formerly worked and known to be his favoured newspaper – suggested that Brexit was now doomed to failure.

Admitting “almost nothing has been achieved”, the Brexit-backing newspaper added: “With no plan to unleash its potential, it can only fester, stoking tensions in Northern Ireland and strangling small firms with red tape.”

“It is time for the Leave camp to start saying the unsayable: the Tories have made such a hash of Brexit that the project is probably now unsalvageable,” it added.

The column marks the rise of so-called “Bregret” or “Regrexit”, with polls indicating that many Leave voters believe Brexit is going badly and a growing number are in favour of rejoining the EU.

One in three Tory voters (33 per cent) believe Brexit has created more problems than it has solved, an Opinium survey in early January. A separate YouGov poll found 30 per cent of Leave voters said the UK should now forge closer ties with Brussels.

Poling guru Sir John Curtis said his own poll-of-polls analysis shows support for rejoining the EU at 57 per cent and staying out at 43 per cent if another referendum was held, having steadily risen over the past year.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis admitted in November that leaving had not delivered any “major” economic benefits. And fellow Tory MP Andrew Bowie – now a trade minister – previously admitted that young people may not “reap the benefits” of Brexit.

Tory MP Tobias Ellwood raised eyebrows in June by suggesting the UK could rejoin the EU’s single market to ease the cost of living crisis, saying he was “daring” the think outside the box.

“I fear that it is more likely that we end up re-joining the EU – and sooner than many people think,” wrote The Telegraph’s Sherelle Jacobs. “Not for the reasons the alt-Remainers believe, best expressed through their favourite cliche: nobody voted to be poorer.

“The real problem is that nobody voted for nothing to change. And Brexit has not brought about the kind of national reset that millions of people expected. Instead, it is beginning to look slightly rubbish, even pointless.”

It comes as a new joint report by top economic think tanks found that post-Brexit rules have led to a shortfall of around 330,000 workers in the UK and had helped fuel inflation.

The ending of free movement is “contributing significantly” to current labour shortages, the study by the UK in a Changing Europe and the Centre for European Reform found.

The academics found that low-skilled sectors – including hospitality, retail, construction and transportation – had been badly hit by the loss of EU workers after Brexit.

“Overall, the new system is working broadly as Leave advocates promised,” said co-authors Prof Jonathan Portes and John Springford, who said visa rules were “too onerous to compensate for the loss of free movement in low-skilled sectors of the economy”.

Meanwhile, Asda chair Stuart Rose said on Tuesday the UK was suffering from the “catastrophic” impact of Brexit and should consider a closer trading relationship with Brussels.

“I can smell it – we have suffered. We are the only economy I think in the G7, possibly in the G20, who has actually not yet recovered to pre-Covid levels. That tells you something,” Lord Rose told LBC.

The Tory peer said trade between the UK and the EU was “not flowing smoothly”, adding: “We can call it the Mickey Mouse agreement as far as I’m concerned. What we need to do is we need to have a stronger trading relationship.”

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