Eight years after Brexit vote: how is the UK faring?

On 23 June 2016 the British voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. On 31 January 2020, after much wrangling over terms, the divorce was finalised. On the 8th anniversary of the referendum commentators discuss how the UK has fared since leaving the EU - also as the country heads for its general election on 4 July.

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The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

We have taken back control

For The Daily Telegraph Brexit is a success story:

“It is too often claimed that Brexit has been a failure. That is quite simply not the case. ... We have regained something of immeasurable value by leaving the EU. It is the ability once more to make our own decisions - even if that means, on occasion, making our own mistakes. When we were a member, control over our borders, trade policy, regulation, agriculture ... was no longer in the hands of our parliament but rather in those of an unaccountable, opaque machine which we could not hold to account. ... Brexit has not achieved everything we might have hoped for, but we have reclaimed our democracy and we have taken back control.”

Irish Independent (IE) /

Time for a fresh start

Under Labour there is hope of much better relations with the EU, says the Irish Independent:

“There is zero prospect of the UK returning to the European Union any time soon. But that doesn't mean good neighbours can't work together. ... The UK Labour Party is poised to return to power with an enormous majority. Its leadership is already paving the way for improved relations with the EU. ... The view is that Labour will ditch the adversarial post-Brexit relationship with Brussels, crafted by the Tories, and the fixation with regulatory divergence. Johnson's slogan at the last general election in 2019 was 'Get Brexit Done'. Labour leader Keir Starmer's mantra seems to be 'Get Brexit Fixed'.”

The Observer (GB) /

No magic fix for cost of Brexit

Labour's planned measures for closer ties to Brussels are unlikely to make up for the negative consequences of Brexit, says The Observer:

“The truth is that these incremental steps may help build positive relationships but are unlikely to do much to boost growth in the context of the 2-4% by which Brexit is likely to depress long-run GDP. Brexit created significant non-tariff trade barriers for exports and imports to the EU. New trade deals with Japan, Australia and New Zealand are projected to increase GDP by relatively tiny amounts in comparison. ... Boris Johnson's promised economic nirvana of growth driven by regulatory divergence from the EU simply has not materialised.”