The new trade route: The story of the IEA, Brexit and the UK’s new approach to global trade

The colossal impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has somewhat eclipsed the memories of a Britain divided by the Brexit vote.

But the years running up to the Brexit referendum – and the prolonged arguments that followed in its wake – created an atmosphere that was uniquely febrile and divisive.

In September 2018, in the eye of that storm, the IEA published the paper Plan A+: Creating a prosperous post-Brexit UK. It was welcomed by a then pre-Downing Street Boris Johnson.

But it also prompted fierce opposition – and a censorious and, at times, sinister backlash that threatened the very existence of the IEA.

Here, Radomir Tylecote, the co-author of Plan A+, tells of the tumultuous tussles that followed its publication – and how it ultimately influenced the UK’s emergence as a globally-focused, independent trading nation.

Mark Littlewood
Director General
Institute of Economic Affairs
June 2021

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Senior Research Analyst, Trade and International Competition Unit

Dr Radomir Tylecote is a Fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs and was a member of the IEA’s International Trade and Competition Unit (ITCU) during the Brexit years. He is Director of Defence and Security for Democracy (DSD) at the think tank Civitas. He has a PhD from Imperial College Business School and an MPhil from Cambridge University and is frequently published in the UK press including The Telegraph and the Mail.