We have just passed the fourth anniversary of Brexit when the UK left the European Union but how has it all gone? What has gone well and what has not?

In the 2016 referendum the South Hams voted 52.9 per cent to 47.1 per cent to remain, the only place in Devon and Cornwall to do so with the exception of Exeter.

No issue in living memory has been so divisive, causing discord between families, friends and work colleagues.

South West Devon MP Sir Gary Streeter who voted remain in 2016 says: “I think it has been encouraging to see the trade deals we have been able to strike with the rest of the world. A process which will improve and continue. We probably still need to iron out some of the trade wrinkles between us and the EU.

It was always my view that that any gains from Brexit would be long-term and I think as we grow in confidence about our role in the world we will see that more and more. It also seems that the EU economy is faltering, and it is no bad thing for us to be outside of it. The key point is that the British people voted for it, and we have delivered on that mandate.”

The Leader of South Hams District Council, Lib Dem Cllr Julian Brazil said: “‘To be honest I’m struggling to think of anything that has gone well. There probably was a benefit when it came to securing covid vaccinations, but that’s been rather overshadowed by the shenanigans at Downing Street. What really concerns me is the effect it’s having on our farmers and fishermen. There may be a solution, but government seems incapable of finding it.

It’s also a massive worry for the environment. European legislation from hedgerows to water quality have gone with nothing to replace it. As we’ve seen with the water companies, our beautiful rivers and seas are too easily sacrificed on the alter of corporate greed.

Whatever side of the argument, I’m sure we can all agree that government, of whatever flavour, has got to do better.”

Last year Farmers Weekly carried out a survey of more than 900 farmers who told them there was more red tape, a worsening economic situation, damaging free trade deals and broken promises.

Some 70 per cent of cereal farmers said Brexit had been negative for their business 68 per cent of farmers keeping beef, cattle, dairy cows or sheep felt likewise. Vegetable farmers registered 68 per cent. Of those who voted leave 36 per cent said they felt Brexit had been negative for their businesses, while 30 per cent said it had actually been ‘fairly positive’ or ‘very positive’. We were promised a taking back control of our borders, £350 million more a week for the NHS (remember that red bus) and a sparkling free trade deal with the US, India, Canada (talks have just collapsed) and many other countries. Leavers say that it takes time, we have ‘taken back control’ of our sovereignty, borders, money and have signed a Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership. World events such as COVID, the Ukraine and now Gaza wars and Red Sea attacks cloud the assessment of Brexit. There is though little political appetite from the Conservatives or Labour to rejoin anytime soon.