Rishi Sunak blames war in Ukraine and Covid when asked if Brexit hurt UK economy

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Rishi Sunak leaves his press conference at the end of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Rishi Sunak leaves his press conference at the end of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia.

Rishi Sunak dodged the question when asked if Brexit had played no role in Britain’s economic problems.

The prime minister – who backed Leave in the 2016 referendum – instead blamed the war in Ukrainee and the Covid19 pandemic.

At a press conference at the end of the G20 summit in Bali, Sunak was asked: “The UK’s economic difficulties have been particularly acute compared to some of its neighbors and like-minded countries.

“Do you accept that Brexit is somehow a contributing factor to these problems?

But Sunak – who promised “professionalism, integrity and accountability” when he became prime minister – declined to answer the question directly.

He said: “When you think about the economic situation in the UK, I would remind you…two-thirds of G20 members are seeing inflation rates above 7% right now. The IMF thinks that a third of the world economy is or will be in recession.

“It’s the global context, it’s what has dominated the conversations I’ve had here, and we know why – it’s the legacy of Covid and it’s of course what Putin is doing that drives energy and even food prices.”

He added: “It’s the global economic context and I think that’s what’s dominating what’s happening. Each country is going to have idiosyncratic things, but these are the overwhelming and dominating factors.

His comments came despite data from the Office for National Statistics revealing last week that the UK was unique among G7 countries in that its economy has still not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

And earlier this week, a former Bank of England official said the UK economy had been “permanently damaged” by the decision to leave the EU.

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