Andrea Leadsom Roasted For Claiming Brexit Premium Is 'Cost Of Doing Business'

Andrea Leadsom has faced a backlash after telling businesses they need to “adapt” to the rising costs caused by Brexit – with critics arguing the added burden is a far cry from the sunlit uplands promised in 2016.

In an interview that comes as the UK marks four years since Brexit officially happened, the Tory minister was quizzed about the costs being suffered by small businesses because of border checks caused by quitting the European Union’s single market.

From today, new arrangements as a result of the UK leaving the bloc will impact the import of plants, animals and food from the continent.

Many companies say the extra checks will massively increase their costs and put their long-term sustainability at risk.

On Sky News, the health minister and prominent Brexiteer during the 2016 referendum defended the changes to Kay Burley.

But she faced ridicule on X after suggesting “leaving the single market was always going to have implications” and that “businesses are used to the costs of doing business”.

Labour MP Jess Phillips argued firms were “promised there wouldn’t be any extra” costs, and broadcaster Jon Sopel said: “I don’t remember the Brexit campaigners during referendum warning companies that cost of doing business was going to rise steeply and become ever more bureaucratic.”

“Watching interviews like this you can see why public opinion has moved against Brexit,” added former Tory cabinet minster David Gauke.

After hearing of the difficulties a British florist faced when trying to import flowers from the Netherlands because of the additional checks, Leadsom told Sky News: “Leaving the single market was always going to have implications … I’m just saying that businesses need to adapt to meet the changing environment.

“I can certainly remember as business secretary myself back in 2019, every day meeting with businesses, roundtables, to help them to prepare for us actually leaving the European Union and to understand the additional checks that would be required.

“So businesses are used to the costs of doing business. I understand that today is a big news story because it is something that finally has come home to roost. But the fact of the matter remains that businesses have huge opportunities with other parts of the world which are the direct benefit of us leaving the European Union.”