Rees-Mogg caught out when trying to suggest vaccine roll out was thanks ...
Indy

Jacob Rees-Mogg was caught out when he praised Brexit for helping deliver Covid vaccines.

In a BBC Newsnight interview with Kirsty Wark, the minister for Brexit opportunities started waxing lyrical about vaccines before Wark cut him off and reminded him that Brexit had nothing to do with the policy.

"We were in the transition period and it was absolutely any country who could have done that," she said.

"It was nothing to do with leaving the EU, isn't that correct?"

"All of these other countries could have chosen to but no member state... did," he replied.

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"It was a bold decision because we were free."

Some fact checking: Brexit did not help the UK get the vaccines faster.

Under European law a vaccine must be authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), but individual countries can use an emergency procedure that gets the vaccines faster.

Britain was still subject to those EU rules during the post-Brexit transition period which ended at the close of 2020.

In October, the European Commission decided that the EU would move as one when it came to distributing the vaccine so that may have slowed things down by creating political pressure to be part of the arrangement.

But there was no legal obligation to sign up to that strategy so the UK could have still gone off piste if it was still in the EU.

Indeed, the German health minister, Jens Spahn said in December 2020 that it was a matter of choice: “We have member states including, Germany, who could have issued such an emergency authorisation if we’d wanted to. But we decided against this and what we opted for was a common European approach to move forward together”.

So overall it looks like Rees-Mogg is talking a load of cobblers.

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