‘Rejoin the single market’ Lord Adonis demands closer EU union after Brexit chief quits

Lord Adonis says that UK should rejoin the single market

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Lord Adonis claimed Brexit Minister Lord Frost resigned from his position due to his inability to reach a compromise with the European Union on Northern Ireland. The two parties have been in negotiations for months after the UK lamented the economic disruption the nation has been experiencing. Speaking to LBC, the Labour peer said: “The way out of it is for Britain to rejoin the customs union and the single market.

“It’s because of that impossibility that Lord Frost has resigned. He’s been conducting these negotiations now continuously since the summer.

“And it’s been impossible to resolve the issue because you cannot at the same time have Northern Ireland in the customs union and the single market, operating one set of trade rules, Great Britain operating out of the single market and the customs union, operating another set of trade rules.

“And not have customs checks and bureaucracy between the two.”

Lord Adonis continued: “Effectively, this has been the Achilles heel of Brexit right from the beginning in 2016.

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The Good Friday Agreement requires there to be a completely open border, likely between the north and south of Ireland, and that is simply not compatible with Great Britain leaving the single market and the customs union.

“Lord Frost, rather than resolve this issues, because he’s an extreme Brexiteer, he’s chosen to walk away and, of course, he’s left Boris Johnson holding the baby.

“And what Boris Johnson now has got to do is adopt a pragmatic position, and the pragmatic position must be to negotiate a new trade and cooperation deal with the EU that included something different than the single market and the customs union.”

He added: “He could do something that makes it politically easier for him to get off his hook but we need to get into an open and unbureaucratic relationship with the EU once again.”

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In a letter to Boris Johnson, Lord Frost said he had decided to step down “with immediate effect” after news of his decision to leave in January became public.

Lord Frost wrote: “I have led our EU exit process for the two and a half years since you became Prime Minister. In those years we have restored the UK’s freedom and independence as a country and begun the process of building a new relationship with the EU. That will be a long-term task.

“That is why we agreed earlier this month that I would move on in January and hand over the baton to others to manage our future relationship with the EU.

“It is disappointing that this plan has become public this evening and in the circumstances, I think it is right for me to write to step down with immediate effect.”

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Lord Frost’s quitting piles more pressure on Mr Johnson, who has already suffered potentially his worst week politically since becoming Prime Minister with a giant backbench rebellion, the loss of a former Tory safe seat, and continued allegations over parties in Whitehall during lockdown restrictions.

In Northern Ireland, DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson his departure was a bad sign for Mr Johnson’s commitment to removing the Irish Sea border.

Sir Jeffrey said: “This government is distracted by internal strife, and Lord Frost was being frustrated on a number of fronts.

“We wish David well. We enjoyed a strong relationship with him and his team, but this raises more serious questions for the Prime Minister and his approach to the NI Protocol.”

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said the news showed “a Government in total chaos right when the country faces an uncertain few weeks”.

She tweeted: “BorisJohnson isn’t up to the job. We deserve better than this buffoonery.”

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