Ex-Brexit Party MEP John Longworth has claimed the UK would do better exiting the transition period than staying in to reboot its economy after the coronavirus.
Longworth told talkRADIO that Brexit was only a ‘minor disruption’ to businesses compared to the coronavirus and that the UK needed to leave the transition period before December if it wanted to repair its economy.
He argued that remaining would jeopardise the UK’s ‘freedom to act’, suggesting the bloc would not allow the UK government to ‘remove tariffs’ or ‘adjust taxes’ to boost its economy in a post-Covid world.
He said: ‘This [the coronavirus] puts Brexit into a cocked hat in terms of disruption. This is a minor disruption in comparison to this but we do need to exit the transition to implement the things that we need to do in order to actually reboot the economy.
‘We need the freedom to act, state aid, procurement, removing external tariffs, adjusting taxes, all the things the EU would prevent us from doing if we remained in the transition [period].’
Longworth is the chairman of the Leave Means Leave political pressure group as wel as the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce from 2011 to 2016. He departed in controversy by breaking the organisation’s line on Brexit.
He was elected a Brexit Party MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber in 2019, but lost the party whip for ‘repeatedly undermining their general election strategy.’