UK has faced ‘difficulties’ since Brexit but health sec denies report that government is looking at Swiss-style deal with EU
More now from our interview with Health Secretary Steve Barclay earlier this morning.
As we told you, he has denied a report that the government is considering putting the UK on the road to a Swiss-style relationship with the EU.
But, here are some more details about what he told our Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme.
Mr Barclay, a former Brexit minister, said he didn’t recognise the story by EuroJournalday Times and that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak supports Brexit.
He added that it was important to use “Brexit freedoms” in various “high growth areas”.
“We’ve got a prime minister who himself supported Brexit. I myself did and was Brexit secretary, and worked very hard to maximise our control of our laws, our borders, and our money,” he said.
“So, it’s absolutely important, particularly in those high-growth sectors, such as financial services, life sciences and the green industries, that we really use the Brexit freedoms we have.
“So, I don’t recognise this story at all.”
Asked if he could support a Swiss-style relationship, he said: “Well, I didn’t support that. I want to maximise the opportunities that Brexit offers.”
However, Mr Barclay admitted that since Brexit there have been “difficulties” with “greater friction” over trade.
Asked whether Brexit had had an adverse impact on UK trade, he said: “What I’m saying is you’ve got to look at the issues in terms of Brexit in the round.
“There are areas where there have been difficulties in terms of greater friction and we’re looking to work constructively with EU partners on that.
“But, equally, there are very significant opportunities as a result of Brexit.
“I don’t think we would have done the vaccine rollout in the way that we did had we remained a member of the EU and the significant regulatory opportunities we have, and the autumn statement signalled our determination to take those.”