Brexit backlash as EU insider mocks UK Covid vaccine claims: ‘No longer an empire!’ | UK | News (Reports)

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Mr Lamberts slammed the Government’s claims this week that Brexit helped the country attain the coronavirus vaccine quicker than it would have done in the EU. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Because of Brexit we’ve been able to make a decision [to approve the Pfizer vaccine] based on the UK regulator, a world class regulator, and not go at the pace of the Europeans who are moving a little bit more slowly. “We do all the same safety checks and the same processes, but we’ve been able to speed up how they’re done because of Brexit.”

The claim, echoed by other ministers, appears to be false.

During the Brexit transition period, the UK remains subject to EU rules and regulations.

While vaccines are meant to be authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the UK is free to give approval for medicines such as the Covid vaccine during health crises, such as a pandemic.

Mr Lamberts, a Belgian MEP and Co President of the Greens in the European Parliament, tells Express.co.uk this is “spin” from the Government in the UK.

He said: “I understand the Brexiteers need some positive spin, but frankly there won’t be a difference between the deployment of the vaccine in the UK and the deployment of the vaccine in Europe.

“If they want to spin the issue, fine by me, but that is not the issue because in such circumstances you may go faster.”

Mr Lamberts argued that the UK will lose influence outside the EU.

He continued: “I can recognise some people in the UK think the good old days of the empire can come back, and that Britannia can rule again. But this is over.

“The British people will soon realise they only represent one percent of the world population, and no, they don’t have an empire any longer.

“The only way to have influence is to be a part of something bigger, that is the question, not if you can approve a vaccine three days quicker.”

Mr Lamberts also issued a pessimistic prediction for the UK’s status outside the EU.

READ MORE: Brexit backlash as Joe Biden ‘wants UK in EU’

“I do resent those who likened the EU to the Soviet Union, we are not forcing the UK to stay.

“We want to remain good neighbours, but the politicians who advocated for Brexit, many of them lied about the facts.

“I wish them all the best to face the consequences of what they wanted, because the future for the UK won’t be as rosy as they say it will.

“I can’t be friends with the likes of Nigel Farage, Iain Duncan Smith or certainly Dominic Cummings.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will speak today to try and find a way through the Brexit deadlock as talks remain tense.

The UK and EU still see “significant divergences” between their respective demands, with fishing rights, rules on state subsidies and the level playing field on regulation remaining the sticking points.

The Telegraph today quoted a source close to the negotiations on the UK side who claimed negotiations have been thwarted by EU demands for European fishing boats to have 10-year access to UK waters.

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