An interview with the ex-chancellor underlines the dangers that now face economically vulnerable areas of the UK

I sincerely hope that it is only the lunatic fringe of Brexiters who do not accept that, having made the disastrous mistake of leaving the EU, this country should now try to align itself as closely as possible with the trading arrangements we have crassly abandoned.

The chaos surrounding the “protocol” which is supposed to answer the latest manifestation of the Irish Question is the most extreme example of the damage caused by the rest of the UK leaving the single market. But for the past five weeks the obstacles arising from trying to unscramble the egg of our relationship with the rest of the European economy have been widely publicised, the reductio ad absurdum being the way in which businesses – in order to stay in business! – are finding it necessary to relocate some or all of their operations to continental Europe – in other words, within the single market.

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