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Inside politics

Maybe I shouldn’t have backed Brexit

Liz Truss in Hanoi after signing a trade deal with Vietnam. Nhac Nguyen/AFP/Getty Images

I’m beginning to think I was wrong to back Brexit, says Fraser Nelson in The Daily Telegraph. I voted leave in the hope that we could “swap a parochial European policy for a world of ‘Global Britain’” – we could cut the Brussels red tape, “strike bold trade deals” and establish a fruitful relationship with Europe. So “where are these sunlit uplands”? Our service exports to the EU are “falling twice as fast as those to the rest of the world”. Our relationship with the bloc has been hammered by “the vaccine wars and Northern Ireland rows”. And the new trade deals enthusiastically promoted by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss are just “rolled-over EU agreements”. The proposed Australia deal is being phased in over 15 years, “as if free trade is a huge threat from which Britain needs to be protected”.

Everywhere you look, there are “Brexit opportunities not being taken”. We haven’t rid ourselves of the EU’s “notorious” GDPR regulations or mortgage rules that have locked 170,000 homeowners into higher interest rates. We still have the cap on bankers’ bonuses, despite France and Germany openly trying to nab our best talent. Granted, Brexit has delivered the political stability I hoped it would: we are blissfully free of populists and leaving did not “supercharge the case for Scottish independence”. Thus far, however, the dream of Global Britain remains just that – a dream.

Trump strikes a blow for taekwondo

Facebook/Kukkiwon_tkd/Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Donald Trump has been awarded an honorary black belt in taekwondo by the World Taekwondo Headquarters in South Korea – despite never having practised the martial art. He was given a ninth dan belt, the same rank granted to Vladimir Putin when he visited the country in 2013. The Russian president doesn’t do taekwondo either, says Jessica Kwong in Metro, but he does have a (real) eighth dan belt in judo. Putin has co-authored numerous books about judo, and once starred in a 90-minute instructional DVD called Let’s Learn Judo with Vladimir Putin.

Sunak’s not a shoo-in for No 10

Tensions between No 10 and Rishi Sunak’s Treasury are pretty obvious these days, says Iain Martin in The Times. “The worst-kept secret in London is that you merely have to offer Rishi Sunak a bread roll and a can of Coke Zero and he will explain how it is only his valiant department that is holding everything together.” But Sunak is too implicated in the Johnson government simply to “ascend from the ashes” if and when it falls. “If Rishi wants to be Tory leader he should have resigned ages ago,” says one Tory donor. “He is damned now as a high spender who didn’t stand up to Boris.”

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