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Minister fails to name single Brexit benefit after being put on the spot

Photo by Brian Reyes

By Martina Bet, PA Political Staff

A Treasury minister failed to name a single Brexit benefit after being put on the spot in the House of Commons chamber.

Andrew Griffith said the Prime Minister and the Chancellor were right to reaffirm “we must never go back” and pursue a relationship with Brussels that “relies upon alignment with EU laws”.

He then told the Commons how Brexit can deliver and is already delivering “enormous benefits”, but when challenged by the SNP’s Peter Grant (Glenrothes) to name a single one, Mr Griffith said he did not have enough time to list them all.

His comments follow reports that the Government is considering putting the UK on the road to closer ties with the European Union, which caused panic among hardline Brexiteers.

Both Downing Street and senior ministers have immediately sought to play down the suggestion.

As he closed a debate on the autumn statement in the lower chamber, Mr Griffith said the Government’s decision on the reform of Solvency II is “so important for growth”, adding: “Without compromising policyholder protection, the changes will better mobilise the UK’s £3.4 trillion of pension wealth.

“And as the ABI (Association of British Insurers) estimates, it’ll unlock £100 billion of new investment here in our economy over the next 10 years.”

He added: “It’s why unlike those on the opposition benches, who yearn wistfully, for the powers to be returned to their Brussels overlords that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor were right to reaffirm today that we must never go back and never pursue a relationship with Europe that relies upon alignment with EU laws.

“Brexit can deliver and is already delivering enormous benefits and opportunities.”

Intervening, Mr Grant asked: “Could the minister just tell my constituents one thing that is a definite benefit, even to 20% of the people in my constituency, from Brexit? Something they would notice the difference with?”

Mr Griffith replied: “Well, I am afraid we have time not left enough to share all of the benefits that we are delivering for his constituents.

“But as they sit here tonight and the nights are dark and the and the evenings are growing colder, his constituents like all of our constituents, will be enormously grateful for the £55 billion that we are putting in to protect people and households from the cost of energy this winter.”

As the minister answered Mr Grant’s question, the MP for Glenrothes raised his index finger in a “number one” gesture.

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