Tory minister dismisses Brexit as 'something that happened six years ago'

A Tory minister was left licking her wounds after she was challenged for claiming Brexit was just something that happened a few years ago that we should all forget about.

On BBC Question Time, Victoria Atkins dismissively said Brexit "happened six years ago" after an audience member called on the UK to rejoin the single market to help the economy.

The conversation came in the wake of chancellor Jeremy Hunt's Autumn Statement, in which he set out new tax and austerity measures while revealing the UK is now in a recession.

Atkins said other countries had "higher inflation" and blamed "international factors" for the economy. Brexit "happened six years ago," she said.

"We've got to look forward, we've left the EU," she said.

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But another audience member clapped back, saying we are still facing "the consequences" of Brexit despite it happening a few years ago.

He said: "Brexit is a factor. The two main parties are not talking about it. But we are talking about it, and BBC journalists are starting to question politicians about it. And it’s about time we got it out in the open.

“We had a vote, we had a marginal decision in favour of leaving, whatever that meant. It meant lots of different things to different people. But Brexit ... it’s a disaster. It’s a disaster for our economy.

“Growth is not a new thing. We need to grow and we need to export, and we need to export to our biggest and most obvious market, which is just over 20 miles away and across the Channel.”

The Brexit damn is bursting. Recently, a former minister admitted one of the UK's key post-Brexit deals is a bit rubbish, while a leading expert said Brexit is the reason why Hunt has chosen to pursue austerity.

A new poll has revealed public support for Brexit has fallen to an all-time low.

So no, it isn't something that just happened six years ago and is without further consequence, Atkins.

It is a simple and fundamental principle that the government derives its democratic legitimacy from the people. The future of the country must not be decided by plotting and U-turns at Westminster; it must be decided by the people in a general election. And for this reason The Independent is calling for an election to be held. Have your say and sign our election petition by clicking here.

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