Rishi Sunak must focus on cost of living crisis and ignore attacks by hardline Brexiteers – Scotsman comment

Decision to ditch arbitrary expiry date for EU-era legislation shows Brexiteers can be ‘pragmatic’, says Business Secretary

As an economic think tank warned Rishi Sunak was at risk of failing to keep his promise to halve inflation this year, Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg voiced his anger over another prime ministerial pledge. “He has broken his word. This is very serious in my view,” Rees-Mogg said. The reason for the former Business Secretary’s vexation was that the UK Government has finally given in to reality and ditched his ridiculous plan for thousands of EU-era laws to simply expire at the end of this year.

According to Rees-Mogg, this would make the UK more competitive and, allegedly, reduce inflation. However, it would also risk utter chaos, with multiple babies hurled out with the bathwater simply because civil servants had not had the time to assess the implications of scrapping them properly.

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Rees-Mogg’s successor, Kemi Badenoch, said they would still end what she called “EU supremacy” but just take more time over the process. This, she added, showed Brexiteers could be “pragmatic”. Hallelujah! Sticking to this artificial deadline could well have been a Liz Truss-style mistake.

The departure from government of ideological fools like Rees-Mogg who think scrapping legislation en masse is a sensible way to run the country is hugely welcome, and Sunak should pay no attention whatsoever to such sniping from hardline Brexiteers. Instead, he must focus his attention on keeping his much more important promise to halve inflation this year, while trying to improve the overall state of the economy.

In recent years, far too many reckless and ill-considered decisions have been taken for ideological reasons alone, with the country suffering the consequences. The disastrous Truss was the epitome of such thinking.

The country needs a prolonged period in which pragmatism is the government’s watchword. Great care should be taken over the formulation of policies, with considerable help from the “experts” who correctly predicted the damage that leaving the EU would cause and who earned the unwarranted derision of leading Brexiteers as a result.

It is by this means that the UK economy will start to recover from the triple blow of Brexit, Covid and the cost-of-living crisis, not by a bonfire of legislation merely to pander to Brexiteer vanities.



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