Brexit news – live: Trade not down due to leaving EU, says No 10 as Labour accuses government of ‘cronyism’

Chantal Da SilvaMon, 8 February 2021, 9:09 am

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The government has rejected claims that its handling of Brexit is to blame for a reported drop in exports to the EU in January after new figures suggested exports had plunged by 68 per cent.

Over the weekend, it came to light that the Road Haulage Association (RHA) had warned Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove in a letter sent last Monday of the dramatic drop in exports it had observed based on surveys with international members.

In the letter, RHA head , Richard Burnett appeared to blame the government’s handling of Brexit, asserting that he had “warned repeatedly” of how the lack of clarity on post-Brexit rules would impact hauliers, traders and manufacturers.

In a statement to The Guardian on Monday, a Cabinet Office spokesperson rejected the accusations, asserting that the government does not “recognise these figures at all”.

“We know there are some specific issues and we are working with businesses to resolve them,” they said.

Meanwhile, the government is facing fresh accusations of “cronyism” from Labour, with shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves accusing leadership of passing over businesses with experience in favour of companies with close ties to the Conservative Party.