In 2019, it was possible to see what those who support Brexit hope for: that, while aligning UK regulation with Europe might have helped secure £220 billion of trade with the EU (and £90billion with USA), there was an even bigger prize to be secured by setting environmental, employment and health & safety standards on our own.

British business had not worked hard enough to secure global trade beyond the EU. And we were having to get regulation changes agreed by 27 other countries.

The coronavirus has seriously damaged many UK businesses especially the car and aircraft industries and suppliers.

Businesses have used up their reserves. Relaunching post-virus is going to be tough. Adapting to a new regime of tariffs and customs checks may now be the last straw.

The best bet for a solid restart might be to re-establish and build on existing contacts and markets, not seek new ones.

We are also forced to realise that the global trade has risks as well as benefits.

People - and goods? - from highly infected countries like Brazil, Russia, India or USA must be quarantined to ensure they are not carrying the virus, which makes trade with these countries more difficult. The UK became infected by at least 1,300 separate individuals arriving here from abroad.

The global economic opportunities for the UK are fundamentally different from what they were in 2019 – or indeed 2016.

So why are Richard Drax and his Government planning to carry on with the same Brexit plan that was drawn up in, a very very different, 2019?

Stephen Bendle

Beech Road