Brexit news: Trade with EU down 18% as Brown warns UK break up may be ‘all Johnson is remembered for’

·1 min read

The scale of damage to UK trade with the EU inflicted by Brexit has been laid bare in official figures which showed goods exports to the bloc in the first quarter of 2021 down by 18 per cent compared to the last three months of 2020.

Trade with the EU continued to recover from the precipitous collapse in January - when UK exports fell by 42 per cent - with sales to the continent in March up 8.6 per cent (£1bn) and imports up 4.5 per cent (£800m) compared to February.

But Thomas Sampson of the London School of Economics said that today’s figures suggest that the “incomplete bounceback” seen in February has now stalled.

Elsewhere, Gordon Brown said Boris Johnson will be remembered as the prime minister who oversaw the break-up of the United Kingdom if Scotland presses ahead with an independence referendum and votes to leave.

The former prime minister accused Mr Johnson of failing to understand the union, and criticised his government for failing to make it a priority in yesterday’s Queen’s speech.

In an interview with Times Radio on Wednesday, the ex-Labour leader said: “I don’t think he’s thought about it, I don’t think he understands it, I think he’s got to start beginning to understand it.”