Prime Minister Boris Johnson locked horns with BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker over Brexit during the Conservative Pary conference in Manchester in a disagreement over the reason behind the ongoing paucity of truck drivers in the UK.
Walker had argued that the people believe the problem lies with Brexit, but Johnson repudiated the suggestion that leaving the EU has cost the UK a crucial fraction of its workforce.
“People watching this morning will say this is related to Brexit,” Walker told Johnson.
“I can hear them shouting, you can probably hear them shouting at the TV now.”
“I don’t think they are,” Mr Johnson retorted.
“I just mentioned China, to the best of my knowledge China is not in the EU.”
He continued: “If you think China is in the European Union or America in the European Union…”
Walker further challenged Johnson’s measures to fix the supply chain, which he believes is not making headway.
Johnson replied: “Well the supply chain problem is caused very largely by the strength of the economic recovery.
“What you will see is brilliant logistics experts in our supermarket chains, in our food processing industry getting to grips with it, finding the staff that they need.”
Mr Johnson, in an interview with Andrew Marr on Sunday, had argued that the crisis in the haulage sector was the storm before the calm and that the economy was necessarily going to experience hiccups before bouncing back.
The Prime Minister said that when the people voted in favour of Brexit in 2016 and 2019, they were voting for an end to the “broken model” of the UK economy which relied on low wages and low skills.
“The logic of what you are saying is that the shortages and the short-term problems are an inevitable result of the policy,” Marr told Johnson.
“To get higher productivity, to get higher wages we as a country have to go through some bumps, some shortages, some queues on the way, and that folks is what you voted for.