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"We were brainwashed."


It was really good to meet Ian Perkes this morning and hear what the impact of Brexit has been like for someone who has spent nearly 50 years exporting fish to Europe. Paying £240 a day for health certificates to export to the EU is killing his business. 38 pieces of paper needed in place of two means more staff and higher costs. "I need to sell 2.5 tonnes a week purely to cover the extra costs." On top of that, customs delays at Boulogne often mean connections are missed with European delivery lorries - another huge problem. "Of course I'm angry. We were brainwashed," Ian says. He remembers walking around the fish quay a few years ago with Boris Johnson, who told him he'd have to take more staff on because his business would boom. Now he's sending people home because they can't afford to export more than 2 or 3 times a week.

As in so many other industries, companies are going under because they can't afford the expense of Brexit red tape and the government is doing nothing to improve things. This was never on the side of a bus. It was never part of the sunlit uplands promised by the Vote Leave campaign. People like Ian are paying the price for a gamble that the Conservative Party never even expected to win.

It's high time we started the work of repairing fraught relations with our closest neighbours and working out how to smooth trade between the UK and the EU.

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