Today marks 100 days since Brexit properly happened in the UK – with seamless trade and EU rules replaced by a weighty trade deal.
It’s not been billed as the total disaster some feared – especially because the impact on firms is masked by the hit from coronavirus.
House prices have not collapsed, we got a trade deal, we’ve not seen 7,000-truck queues and we’ve ‘taken back control’ of UK laws.
But the 100 days since the transition period ended on December 31 have also been fraught with controversy.
Northern Ireland has been struck by violence, trade from the EU plummeted in January, and veteran seafood businesses face mass ruin.
Small firms and gifts have been slapped with huge charges for moving goods across the Channel.
And the UK has already extended “grace periods” for getting food into Belfast’s supermarkets, only weeks after they were agreed.
So what exactly has gone wrong in the first 100 days of proper Brexit – and are they teething issues or here to stay?
Online political editor Dan Bloom walks through some of the biggest issues.
Trade with the EU plummeted in January
The UK’s trade with the EU – its largest trading partner by far – collapsed in January as Covid restrictions and Brexit hit hard.
Exports to the EU fell by 41% in January, compared with a 2% rise to non-EU countries.
Imports from the EU fell by 29% in January, compared with only a 13% fall from non-EU countries.
Claims that disruption was only about coronavirus appear to ring hollow when compared to these figures.
Experts do suggest firms stockpiled EU goods in the Autumn so a short-term fall in trade was inevitable.
But the Road Haulage Association say at least half of trucks that came from Europe to the UK were being sent back again empty in January.
The RHA told the Mirror demand for carrying exports had plunged as some firms found the paperwork unaffordable. In other cases, exports take more time to sign off and hauliers “can’t wait” for them to be ready.
Northern Ireland is facing riots and violence
Northern Ireland faced pleas for calm in early April after days of violence on the streets injured more than 70 police officers.
Petrol bombs, fireworks and bits of masonry were fired in Belfast as police used water cannon for the first time in six years.
The cause of the violence is multi-faceted and is not just about Brexit. There’s also anger at police’s handling of a funeral for former IRA leader Bobby Storey, which critics say broke social distancing rules.
However, it also comes after loyalist threats to port staff in Northern Ireland, and against a backdrop of loyalist anger at the Brexit deal.
Since January 1, inspectors have had to check some goods arriving from Britain to Northern Ireland’s ports.
That is because Northern Ireland follows EU single market rules, and must also apply some EU customs checks on arriving British goods.
Unionists and loyalists say this is effectively a border across the Irish Sea – something Boris Johnson promised would never happen due to Brexit.
There are still questions over how food will get to Belfast’s supermarkets in future
The UK government has already had to extend vital “grace periods” that prevent the harshest EU checks on goods moving from Britain to Northern Ireland.
There were fears supplies to supermarkets could be seriously hit when the grace periods – agree with the EU four months ago – expired in April and July.
As recently as January 20, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said it wasn’t his intention to extend these grace periods.
Yet on February 3, just two weeks later, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove announced a plea to extend them to 2023.
The UK later unilaterally extended them to October – prompting claims from the EU that this was a breach of the Brexit agreement.
Questions remain about how these arrangements will work from October onwards.
Fishing communities are facing ruin
Fishermen who export to the EU have been battered by red tape since new rules took force on January 1.
Fish and meat are even more complex than other exports because they need to meet rules on “products of animal origin”.
Exporters must fill out an Export Health Certificate and have their goods checked at an EU Border Control Post.
Chilled mince and sausages are banned from export completely – so it’s the ultra-perishable fishing industry that’s in the spotlight.
The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations said the first consignments to Calais hit a “brick wall of bureaucracy”.
The government opened a £23m compensation fund for those hit, worth up to £100,000 per fisherman. But industry chiefs had warned the rules were complex and it would be hard for boat owners to prove their losses.
Separately Boris Johnson pledged £100m to help the industry, but fishing industry representatives have previously called for clarity about where it’s going.
Environment Secretary George Eustice admitted in March: “We saw teething problems as people tried to wrestle with some quite complicated processes.
“Rhere were problems on the French side as well. They had a breakdown in their customs IT system in the first week of January.”
Many shellfish exports to the EU are still banned completely
As if this wasn’t bad enough, some shellfish exports have been banned completely since January 1 after a legal dispute between the UK and EU.
Ministers admitted there is a total ban on certain types of mollusc from ‘Class B’ waters around the UK being sent to the EU.
And after the UK initially claimed it would only last until April, the EU clarified the ban was in fact being made permanent.
Waters around Wales and South West England are affected, with exports of mussels, oysters, clams and cockles all hit.
Several shellfish firms are now threatening legal action against the UK government for “negligence and maladministration”.
James Green of the Whitstable Oyster Company – whose Kent seaside town holds an annual oyster festival – told MPs: “This put ourselves and others in the industry in a highly perilous situation.
“The town’s fortunes are built and always have been upon the availability of local oysters.
“There seems to be an inability at Defra to grasp the seriousness of the situation facing us. As time goes on and no solution is found, nor any substantial financial aid offered, there is an increasing likelihood that these businesses, including ours, will fail.”
Mr Eustice insisted the EU had promised no such ban would apply in September 2019 – only to then impose it after Brexit took force.
He’s since said some of the £100m fund will go on building purification sites in the UK so mussel and cockle exports can resume this winter.
A shortage of flower-pickers meant daffodils were left to rot
The world’s largest daffodil grower is having to let hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of flowers rot following Brexit.
Varfell Farms, at Long Rock, Penzance, produces 500 million stems a year and needs 700 workers to pick them.
However, since Covid and the end of free movement following Brexit, the business only has around 400 flower pickers as many of its workers have previously come from EU countries.
The business’ owner Alex Newey told Radio 4’s The World This Weekend that it has to let daffodils rot in the fields as a result.
“We can’t harvest them, we don’t have enough pickers to pick them. We’re losing hundreds of thousands of pounds,” he said.
Relations with the EU got so bad, we had to reinstate a Brexit minister
Boris Johnson appointed an unelected Cabinet minister for Brexit – just a year after he scrapped the job of Brexit Secretary.
Despite claiming he would “get Brexit done” in the 2019 election, the Prime Minister hired his Brexit negotiator David Frost in February to “lead the UK’s institutional and strategic relationship with the EU”.
It came after a series of spats between the EU and UK that led to urgent talks being convened to find a solution.
Aside from grace periods and trade, one row erupted because the UK denied full diplomatic status to the EU’s envoy in London.
In another row not directly caused by Brexit, the EU was accused of trying to break international law by setting up an Irish hard border over vaccines.
The EU has been threatening restrictions on the export of jabs made in its territory as its own Covid vaccine rollout falters.
Online shopping from the EU has got more expensive
There was an initial flood of Brits ordering goods online from the EU – only to find they are more expensive.
One woman told the BBC her £150 pair of boots from France came with £78 of taxes and duties on top.
Another spent £600 on two handbags – only to be charged an extra £123 on arrival.
The extra costs appear to be because of changes to VAT rules due to Brexit. Goods costing more than £135 now have the VAT applied when they reach the UK.
Sellers may also be charging more for paperwork. This bit might get worse over time as the UK is phasing in its customs rules on imports, while the EU has applied its rules on UK exports straight away.
It isn’t just purchases that come with a surprise price tag – gifts from EU friends and family now have that burden too.
One woman told the BBC she had to pay £30 in taxes on a pair of earrings gifted to her by a friend in Greece.
Under post-Brexit rules you pay VAT on gifts worth more than £39 on arrival in the UK.
UK businesses are finding it harder
While we haven’t seen massive queues of trucks at the border, and that’s a big relief, it’s still become harder to sell to the EU.
In fact, critics fear looking at trucks on the roads is a distraction because the real story may be in the goods that are no longer there at all.
Large firms can afford to deal with the paperwork of exporting to the EU, but some smaller ones cannot.
Even David Cameron’s wife Samantha admits her fashion business has been hit by “frustrating teething issues”.
“If you’re bringing goods into the country from outside the UK, and then trying to sell them back into Europe – that currently is challenging and difficult,” she told the BBC in January.
The Road Haulage Association’s Duncan Buchanan told the Mirror: “There is a permanent reduction in trade.
“There are goods that will no longer be able to be exported commercially because you will no longer be able to make a profit given the increased cost of customs processes.”
Workers’ rights exploded into a row
The ink was barely dry on the Free Trade Agreement when the Tories became embroiled in a row over workers’ rights related to Brexit.
Ministers faced fury at proposals to look at the 48-hour working week cap and rules for factoring overtime into holiday pay.
BEIS officials had been looking at the “whole body of EU law”, including employment law and labour markets, and how it might be changed after Brexit.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng later said he had told officials to stop the work in a U-turn, after a major backlash.
“I made it very very clear to officials in the department that we’re not interested in watering down worker’s rights,” he said.
Despite his cast-iron pledges not to hurt workers’ rights some have fears for the future. Boris Johnson deliberately secured a Brexit deal in which the UK will have freedom to set its own labour laws – though the EU can take action if they undercut businesses on the Continent.