'We must retain the appetite and the courage to diverge' from EU; Boris Johnson in warning over Brexit freedoms

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Boris Johnson marked four years since Brexit took effect with a warning of any watering down of the current arrangements.

It comes with the government set to publish the details of its deal with the DUP, setting the stage for the return of the Stormont powersharing institutions.

But some Tories have concerns it could limit the UK’s post-Brexit freedom to diverge from EU rules.

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The former prime minister, in a post on X, hit out at “artificial” concerns about the border on the island of Ireland and warned against any return to the kind of deal pushed unsuccessfully by Theresa May.

He said: “Four years on from Brexit we celebrate the restoration of this country’s democratic power to make its own laws and rules.

“With those Brexit freedoms we have introduced improved standards for animal welfare, cut taxes on sanitary products, created greater flexibility for cutting edge industries from financial services to bioscience, done many global free trade deals – and it was at least partly thanks to Brexit that this country had the fastest covid vaccine rollout in Europe.

“We must retain the appetite and the courage to diverge from the low-growth high-regulation European model.

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“We must at all costs avoid a return to anything remotely like the disastrous ‘Chequers’ formula whereby artificial concerns about the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland are used to keep the whole of the UK in alignment with EU rules.”