Dominic Raab has been mocked after celebrating the launch of trade negotiations with a number of European countries that the UK already had agreement with before Brexit.
The foreign secretary took to Twitter to announce the seemingly ‘good news’ that Britain had begun trade talks with a handful of smaller European nations, including Liechtenstein.
‘We’ve started formal negotiations on our future relationships with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland,’ he announced.
‘Trade with these important partners is worth £66bn and we’re committed to build on the progress in talks to strengthen these partnerships.’
But his remarks were mocked by pro-Europeans on Twitter as they blasted the minister for announcing talks with countries already part of a relationship the UK once had when it was in the EU.
‘You PILLOCK! You total and UTTER PILLOCK!,’ writer Carol Hedges tweeted. ‘Do you even know where these countries are? (doubt it). We had trade agreements with them via the EU.’
@BrexitBin wrote: ‘So in other words, we’re now trying to get a trade deal with EFTA (European Free Trade Association). The same trade block we co-founded as a rival to the EEC/EU, but then left again to join the EEC/EU because we thought it was more successful. Until we left that too. ….. Not the most reliable partner, are we?’
Some couldn’t help wonder why Britain was about to ditch its largest trading partner for a small principality of 6,000 inhabitants which, in 2019, made up only £124 million of Britain’s export market.
‘Goodbye largest single market in the world, hellooooo Liechtenstein,’ comedy writer James Felton enthusiastically posted.
@blunted_james was a little more cynical: ‘Yes been wondering about that crucial Liechtenstein deal. Well done Dom.’
@H_K_Fooey pointed out that Liechtenstein was so small it did not have its own anthem.
Others questioned the figures the minister tweeted out.
‘Even if you add up our imports from and exports to EFTA countries they don’t make close to £66bn – but then when was the last time you and your chums cared about truth or accuracy?’ Andy Conway Morris asked.
Proinsias Ó Foghlú said: ‘Your trade with Ireland a staunch EU member dwarfs that; £38 billion and imports £24 billion. You’re crowing about a pittance.’
Steve Bray, who founded the pro-EU group Stand Of Defiance European Movement wrote: ‘Yawn. Give it up. We don’t care for your bullshit anymore Raaaaaab. What was the trade with the EU worth out of curiosity?’