Kemi Badenoch fires back at Nigel Farage over Brexit dig

Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch hits back at Tory MP critics

A cabinet minister took on Brexit doomsters on Saturday night and predicted our future outside the EU will be a “roaring success”.

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch vowed to seize new opportunities as she embarked on a trade mission in pursuit of a £1trillion prize.

She said a deal with six Gulf states could “bring in billions” of pounds of investment into the UK. This follows winning a trade deal with economic powerhouses on the Pacific Rim.

Ms Badenoch, who flies to the region this morning, said: “None of these deals would have been possible without Brexit, and this Government is ensuring we make it a roaring success!”

She laid out her vision exclusively to the Sunday Express after gloom-laden pundits blamed Britain’s woes on leaving the EU.


Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage had caused shock last week when he said that “Brexit has failed”. He stated that while he did not think the country would be better off in the EU, politicians had “mismanaged this totally”.

A defiant Ms Badenoch – widely seen as a potential future Conservative leader – believes this country has the chance to build a high-skills, high-wage economy that will flourish beyond Brussels’ control.

She wants to tear down barriers to a market for goods and services expected to be worth nearly £1trillion by 2035.

Ahead of flying to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, she said: “The first aim of Brexit was to leave the European Union – we did that. The second aim was to seize the opportunities of leaving the EU, which we’re doing.”

Describing her mission to shred red tape at home while opening up new markets abroad, she said: “We are taking back control of our laws so that rules are made in Britain, not Brussels. But to really grab those benefits, I’m making sure we reform the EU laws to reduce red tape and give our businesses an even better chance to succeed.”

She will hold talks this week with ministers from the six-nation Gulf Co-operation Council.

Total trade between the UK and these countries reached a record high of £61.3billion in 2022.

Ms Badenoch is heartened that the UK has made history by winning membership of a giant trade bloc of Pacific-facing countries.

But she insists this is just the start of a new era in Britain’s story as a trading nation.

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She said: “Earlier this year I announced we will join the CPTPP – a huge trade bloc of dynamic Indo-Pacific countries that will account for the majority of global economic growth. Last week, I started trade talks with Switzerland, another European country outside the EU who have used their independence to grow the high-skills, high-wage economy that we can emulate.”

Ms Badenoch’s department considers Britain a “global services superpower” but critics of Brexit routinely blame the country’s departure from the EU for deepening economic challenges. A recent analysis for the European Central Bank concluded Brexit had “negative effects on UK trade and the UK labour market”.

There is also unhappiness in Brexiteer ranks that plans to remove all EU rules from the UK statute book by the end of the year have been dropped.

But former Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said the most important aspect of Brexit is strengthening British democracy.

He said: “The triumph of Brexit is democracy and always has been. I have unbounded optimism in the good sense of the British people.”

Former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said that work to make the most of Brexit should have started earlier and gone faster but the country “lost a year or two because of Covid”.

However, he insisted Britain is “getting Brexit done” and that we should soon see “real rewards”.

He said: “The problem with the EU is they were bitter after Brexit, particularly the French, and they’ve been as uncooperative as they possibly could be.”

Jonathan Eyal, international director of the Royal United Services Institute, said that Foreign Office fears that Britain would end up isolated on the world stage have come to nothing in the wake of the Ukraine war.

He said: “Far from being marginalised, we were critical to putting together a European response.

“Far from being irrelevant, we were in the lead of putting together the economic and military assistance to the Ukrainians.

“And far from being irrelevant to the United States, we turned out to be one of the key links between the US and Europe on security questions.” Around the cabinet table, champions of leaving the EU are determined to keep the promise of Brexit alive.

Welsh Secretary David Davies said: “For more than two decades I’ve ­fervently believed and actively sought Britain’s place outside of the European Union because it was the only sure way to unleash our country’s great potential.

“We led the way in both developing a Covid-19 vaccine and pumping it into people’s arms – literally saving millions of lives.

The latest polling shows the depth of nervousness about Britain’s future outside the EU.

Pollsters Omnisis found that 55 percent of people would vote to rejoin the EU if a referendum was held tomorrow.

This was true for 27 percent of Conservatives, but seven out of 10 Labour supporters.

Former Brexit minister David Jones said: “The benefits of Brexit will continue to manifest themselves and become increasingly obvious over the years to come.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt also hit back at the idea that Brexit is a “failure”.

He wrote: “Those on the Left who say it is the root cause of all our problems need to explain why we have grown at about the same rate as Germany since the referendum.”

Corking future for UK wines

Britain’s wine industry could get a heady £180million boost as EU-era red tape is finally torched, writes David Williamson.

Rules that require some sparkling wines to have foil caps and mushroom stoppers will be axed. Restrictions that have blocked the production of new blends will also go.

The changes mean that wine-makers will be able to pick from a wider range of vines, and bottlers will be able to turn imported wine into sparkling wine.

Thérèse Coffey, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, said: “The UK has over 800 thriving vineyards at home and hundreds of millions of pounds worth of wine trade going through UK ports every year. But our producers have been held back by cumbersome inherited EU regulations. We will give them the freedom they need to thrive.

“These reforms will put a rocket under our wine-makers’ businesses – growing the economy, creating jobs and supporting a vital part of our food and drink sector.”

It is hoped that new products will come onto the market as the rules will allow imported wine to be carbonated, sweetened and de-alcoholised.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “We welcome the measures. By introducing greater flexibility, producers and importers won’t be forced to do anything differently but will be able to innovate.

“Allowing businesses bringing bulk wine into Britain to be able to blend will benefit importers, bottlers and consumers. Other changes will maintain the UK as an attractive market for all producers – large and small.”

Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: “Needless red tape stifles innovation and growth. We can now ensure our laws work in the best interests of our businesses.”

Tories blast Sir Keir over stealth plan to drag Britain into Europe

Sir Keir Starmer was accused of “laying the groundwork to drag the UK back into the EU by stealth” as analysis revealed his plan to give EU nationals the vote would hand key marginal seats to Labour, write Jonathan Walker, David Williamson and Martyn Brown.

Labour’s proposals would give 3.4 million EU nationals with “settled status” the right to vote in general elections, while Sir Keir also wants to open up the ballot box to 16 and 17-year-olds.

Polling experts say both groups are more likely to vote Labour.

Tory Chairman Greg Hands said: “Labour’s plan lays the groundwork to drag the UK back into the EU by stealth. Sir Keir spent years trying to block Brexit and overturn the largest democratic vote in this country’s history.”

The number of EU citizens is more than enough to decide the outcome in many marginal seats. These include Bury North, where the Tories beat Labour by 105 votes in 2019, and Bury South, where the Conservative majority was 402.

Bury has an estimated 6,000 residents who are citizens of EU countries.

In Bolton North East the Tories won by 378 votes. Bolton has an EU population of 10,000.

In High Peak, Derbyshire, the Tory majority was 590, while the EU population is 1,000. In Gedling, Notts, the Tories won by 679 and the EU population is 3,000. It is a similar story in Stoke Central and Stoke North; two constituencies in Wrexham and in Peterborough.

The voting plan is one of a number of Labour policies threatening to bring the UK back into the EU’s orbit. Last week Sir Keir, below, suggested he would re-open talks with the EU on a Brexit deal.

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith fears Britain would become a “colony of the EU” under Starmer.

Exclusive polling by Omnisis shows only around one in four support giving the right to vote to EU nations and to under-18s.

Rishi Sunak has ruled out changing the current voting arrangement.

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