Prime Minister Boris Johnson was accused of holding a “clever fantasy” to Britons who decided to take the UK out of the EU in 2016. Writing in the Les Echos, French columnist Marion Van Retnerghem blasted the UK leader as she claimed Brexit “does not exist”, in a series of attacks against Brexiteers.
She wrote: “How the hell did we get to such a mess?
“It is the first time in history that a state signs a treaty intended to limit free trade instead of facilitating it.
“Why did a country as brilliant and inventive as the United Kingdom go to the trouble of re-establishing barriers with the largest market in the world, of which it has moreover helped to establish the rules, which is at the both its closest neighbour and its main trading partner?
“The answer is simple: Brexit does not exist.
“The paradise promised in the 2016 referendum is a fantasy and a misunderstanding.
“A utopia sold by clever politicians to citizens who have the desire and the reasons to believe in it: nostalgic for their defunct empire, harmed by globalisation, frightened by the migration crisis, flattered by belonging to a ‘British exceptionalism’, relieved to find a scapegoat for all their problems – the EU, its regulations, its freedom of movement -, watered by decades of Europhobic tabloids, seduced by the idea of this ‘recovered sovereignty’ that summed up brilliantly the formula ‘take back control’.”
The French journalist also belittled the UK’s effort in signing new independent free trade agreements across the world.
She continued: “All the post-Brexit trade agreements put together bring a benefit of 0.01 to 0.02 percentof GDP, which is eclipsed by the 4 points of GDP due to leaving the EU.
“Boris Johnson had sworn, too, that Northern Ireland would never be cut off from Britain.
“He obviously missed: a customs separates them in the Irish Sea, Scotland has inclinations of secession and Global Britain could end up in Little England.”
The attack comes as the Prime Minister was also criticised by the DUP’s Ian Paisley for failing to speak up about the powersharing crisis at Stormont, insisting he has a responsibility to resolve it.
Mr Johnson is feared to be leading an “English nationalist party” which is “betraying” unionist people in Northern Ireland, MPs have heard.
Mr Paisley’s remarks came as the Northern Ireland (Ministers, Elections and Petitions of Concern) Bill cleared Parliament and is now on the verge of becoming law.
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The Bill was drawn up in a bid to protect powersharing at Stormont by offering greater stability in the event of a political crisis.
It relates to undertakings the UK Government made in the New Decade, New Approach Deal, such as extending the time period within which a snap election must be called if devolution collapses.
It would also lengthen the time allowed to appoint Northern Ireland ministers after an election, and also allow ministers to stay in office for up to 24 weeks or for up to 48 weeks in the event of the first minister or deputy first minister resigning.
Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill was removed from her post as deputy First Minister following last week’s resignation of DUP First Minister Paul Givan in protest at Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol.
Mr Paisley (North Antrim) told the Commons: “I think there is truth to the point tonight that four days into a crisis, almost five days, the Prime Minister of this nation has not spoken. I think that’s wrong.
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“I think the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom ought to have spoken on Thursday evening on this issue.
“I think he should not have shut up about it until the issue is resolved.
“I think they are his responsibilities.
“When you view a constitutional crisis through a prism of a divided community, which is what Northern Ireland is, you create suspicions and you raise concerns unless those matters are properly addressed.
“And I think it’s very obvious to some people that there is a fear that the Conservative and Unionist Party, which governs this nation, is actually a nationalist party, an English nationalist party, that is not concerned about a border in the Irish Sea, but is concerned about a red wall on the mainland island, and that’s what eats them up every single day.
“If that is their only concern then that Government is betraying the union and the unionist people, and that’s the reality of where we are this evening.”