Alastair Campbell clashes with Anita Boateng on Brexit
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Ms Boateng has shut down Alastair Campbell and Labour MP Sarah Jones as the pair tried to blame empty shelves in supermarkets and delays in deliveries across UK on Brexit. Ms Boateng insisted problems with the supply chain are “not a Brexit story”. The heated BBC Politics Live debate came as supply chain issues are manifesting themselves amid a shortage of lorry drivers.
The former Government adviser told BBC Politics: “This is a problem that has been going on for decades.
“Business rightly worries about skill shortages. It naturally looks overseas to fill gaps.
“The Government is concerned about the impact on wages and it wants to build skills in the UK to tackle the problem, which takes time.”
She went on: “This is not a unique problem either to the UK or in fact to this moment in time.
“I think COVID has exacerbated that, but actually some of the challenges we’re talking about. it’s very easy to make this a Brexit story.”
Alistair Campbell interjected: ‘I don’t remember the empty shelves. That’s what I’m saying.”
Ms Boateng continued: “So what I’m saying is the reason why we’re not seeing for instance a number of lorry drivers that we need is because the work is gruelling.
“It’s unpredictable hours, there are huge changes and shift patterns and falling wages.
“These things are not about Brexit.
“It’s all about how do we invest in ensuring that we can scale our population does practical things around ensuring that the lorry driver qualifications can come through.
“But ultimately we make these jobs more attractive with British workers and that is a problem we cannot solve easily.”
The UK chose to quit the bloc and agreed to the new terms of its relationship with Brussels in December 2020 by signing a new trade agreement.
Mr Campbell said earlier in the programme: “It is not 100 percent because of Brexit. But it is to a large extent because of Brexit.
“I’ve just spent time in France. I didn’t see any empty shelf in there, I didn’t meet any unemployed lorry driver there.
“They do not have the same issues and this is all part of the same gaslighting, the one thing this Government are good at.
“Can we please get in the real world and at least accept that many of the difficult challenges we’re facing at the moment are related to the unforeseen consequences of Brexit?”
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