Is Brexit an “Arctic Convoy” moment for HMS Britain? A Norfolk MP thinks so

MP for mid Norfolk, George Freeman Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

MP for mid Norfolk, George Freeman Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

George Freeman has claimed Brexit is an 'Arctic Convoy' moment for Britain.

The Mid-Norfolk MP, who chairs the prime minister's policy board, made the claim in an interview with the Conservative grassroots website Conservative Home.

The Arctic Convoys were organised by Russia and the UK and saw more than four million tons of supplies shipped across freezing seas.

They ran between 1941 and 1945 when more than 70 convoys delivered material to the USSR.

They had to navigate huge icebergs, colossal waves, German U-boats and the Luftwaffe.

War time Prime Minister Winston Churchill described the Arctic Convoys as 'the worst journey in the world.'

When questioned about whether he felt energised by the European Union referendum result, Mr Freeman said: 'Yes. This feels to me like an 'Arctic Convoy' moment for HMS Britain. All officers on deck. Action stations.'

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He said that 'in the end it was a lifeline, and a defining test for the country that we passed.'

'I think if we rise to the challenge, this can be a moment when we stop blaming others for our problems and as a nation we take responsibility. It might trigger a responsibility renaissance, at individual and at corporate and at governmental level.

'I've been quite struck by how many businesses that I know, and used to work with, oddly particularly in the City, which people often think of as the most global and detached part of the economy, saying to me, 'We want to help. How do we sign up to help make a success of this?'

'There are clearly huge challenges. But as with life, personal challenges can be great opportunities for redemption and renewal and recovery.

'Underpinning all of this, of course, including the work of the Policy Board, we are as an ageing, mature, western European political democracy, facing a series of structural challenges in our public finances, and the way we deliver public services, which do require us to think boldly and imaginatively about tackling in a way that brings people together.'