Brexit supporter Rishi Sunak quite right to trumpet benefits of EU single market membership (and not just for Northern Ireland) – Scotsman comment

After The Scotsman suggested the ‘Windsor Framework' could enable Northern Ireland to enjoy the best of both worlds as a member of the EU and UK single markets, Rishi Sunak enthusiastically, and unexpectedly, took up the same theme.

Speaking at a Coca-Cola factory in County Antrim, the Leave-supporting Sunak said: “If we get this right, if we get this framework implemented, if we get the Executive back up and running here, Northern Ireland is in the unbelievably special position… [of] having privileged access, not just to the UK home market, which is enormous, but also the European Union single market. Nobody else has that. No-one. Only you guys, only here, and that is the prize.”

We couldn’t agree more. If only the UK hadn’t left the EU or had remained a single-market member, we could all still be enjoying that same “prize”. Sunak is quite right to trumpet the economic benefits, but it is likely to get him into trouble with the more hardline Brexiteers in his party.

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And so it was that, sometime later, the Prime Minister's official spokesperson explained to reporters that things were different in Northern Ireland because of its “unique position”. “The British people made a decision in 2016 and we are seeing the benefits of that decision,” the spokesperson said.

Brexit Britain is certainly able to do things differently, but its freedom of action is also being constrained by the economic damage caused by cutting ourselves adrift from the EU single market. Faced with that reality, Downing Street’s tired rhetoric – in contrast to Sunak’s obvious excitement for Northern Ireland – felt empty and meaningless.



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