HGV shortage: Maajid Nawaz clashes with caller blaming Brexit
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Maajid Nawaz clashed with LBC caller Tim who argued Brexit voters were to blame for the HGV driver shortage as he argued while there were different factors at play, Brexit was the only one that was deliberately voted on. Mr Nawaz argued Brexit voters actually wanted domestic wages and labour to be prioritised after losing out because of globalisation. Tim delivered a rebuttal and said Brexiteers had voted for people in the UK to see shortages of fuel to which the LBC presenter pointed out Labour voters for Tony Blair did not want him to invade Iraq and so it was a false comparison.
Caller Tim argued the HGV driver shortage was down to Brexit voters because there has been a shortfall in European labour.
But Mr Nawaz, who voted Remain, refused to let Tim lay the blame on Brexiteers because the HGV shortage is down to a combination of reasons.
The LBC host added many Brexit voters wanted to stop the influx of global labour in the UK which was keeping wages stagnant and so likely welcomed HGV drivers seeing a rise in their salaries.
But the combination of the pandemic, inflation and backlog of HGV tests has caused a shortage of nearly 100,000 drivers with Mr Nawaz stating Brexit, although a factor, is not completely to blame.
Tim was still furious at Brexiteers but Mr Nawaz demanded the caller to be “fair”.
Mr Nawaz argued Tim should not insult the intelligence of Brexit voters as it would breed a hostile debate.
The presenter was eventually forced to cut off Tim after claiming he was refusing to answer points addressed to him.
Mr Nawaz concluded by saying: “You can’t disparage and look down on people in that way.
“You’re trying to pin the problem that we’re currently in on Brexit voters by saying because they voted for Brexit and they’re a minority, because whatever percentage you gave on that they’re responsible.
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“First of all, every election in this country is a minority because of the nature of the first past the post system.
“Secondly, you know this desperation to blame Brexit voters, just get over it, man. get over it, seriously.
“We lost, I lost and you lost, Remain voters lost, this country voted for something else.
“Now we need to make the best out of the situation and understanding that Brexit is one factor that contributed to these lorry driver shortages is part of the solution.
“But you’ve not talked about other factors such as furlough, other factors such as tax changes, licence changes and acknowledge it as a labour issue shortage everywhere including 400,000 lorry driver shortages in Europe.
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“If you can’t acknowledge all of this and instead just want to play the blame game we won’t get anywhere near a solution.
“It’s why this blame game is so unhelpful because all it does is put people off, he’s putting me off and I voted in the way that you would have liked me to vote.
“Just imagine how you sound to Brexit voters who are frankly, tired of being told that they are ignorant and too stupid to understand why they voted for Brexit.”
The UK is experiencing a shortage of fuel and other goods due to the HGV driver issue with the Government urging people not to panic buy.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News: “I have seen people point to Brexit as the culprit here when in fact they are wrong.
“Not only are there very large and even larger shortages in other EU countries like Poland and Germany, which clearly can’t be because of Brexit.
“But actually because of Brexit, I have been able to change the law and alter the way our driving tests operate in a way that I could not have done if we were still part of the EU.
“So Brexit has actually provided part of the solution of giving more slots available to HGV tests and a lot more, twice as many available as before the pandemic.”
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