THE UK Government has used “Soviet-style propaganda” to try to hide the damage being caused by Brexit, according to a European law expert.

Professor Michael Dougan, from the University of Liverpool, also warned the only way Boris Johnson can make a success of leaving the EU is to “poison minds” into thinking ­Europeans are the enemy.

Speaking during an online event last week organised by North East Surrey for Europe, the professor of European Law said Johnson’s ­government had pursued a hard ­Brexit “whatever the costs”.

“They didn’t just not care about the costs from an economic, from a social point of view for the UK as a whole, but also when it came to the situation in Northern Ireland,” he said.

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“Of course all of the expert ­predictions have been proven pretty much entirely correct.

“Johnson got his hard Brexit, it is causing serious economic ­problems, albeit that many of them are ­effectively disguised by the impact of Covid and the effects of the ­pandemic, and the economic challenges of the pandemic itself.

“It has caused serious ­economic problems and those economic ­problems will continue for a very long time to come.

“It has also caused enormous ­tension between the UK and its ­former partners and allies.”

Dougan said an equally ­important factor was the way the Johnson ­regime was managing ­responsibility for what it has done by deploying “Trump-style” populist tactics.

“You tell gigantic lies, not little lies as people catch those out,” he said. “You tell big fat juicy lies, you sell magic bean fantasies, the more ­magical the better.

“When reality then keeps proving you wrong, you simply double down even harder and even further.

“You deny any degree of ­responsibility or culpability and you blame everything else on scapegoats. Everything is the fault of other ­people, and then you tell more lies and more fantasies and more scapegoats and more blah-de-blah.

“That is basically what we have seen over the past 12 months.”

Dougan said when it came to the messaging over Brexit, the Government had initially said there would be no difficulties, before “teething problems” were blamed on the pandemic.

Other ideas which had been ­promoted included that Johnson had inherited a “broken Britain” with problems caused by EU migrants.

“Of course the most important thing of all is [the idea] nobody in the UK talks about Brexit anymore,” he added. “We are all over it, we have forgotten all about it, it is only the ­vicious, nasty, bitter Europeans who are still obsessed by Brexit ­because all they want to do is ­punish poor ­little Britain for declaring its ­independence.

“This is a diet of Soviet-style ­propaganda and it is all we have heard from this Government over the past 12 months.”

Dougan also argued that Brexit was sold to the population as a project of “national rejuvenation” that would happen while the EU failed.

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But he said instead leaving the EU was steadily being revealed “simply as a project of national self-harm”.

He said: “So Brexit isn’t a triumph. The EU isn’t a grotesque failure. So the only strategy left by which ­Johnson can justify Brexit is to simply drive the deepest, most hostile, most bitter wedge that he possibly can ­between the people of Britain and the rest of Europe.

“Brexit can only be made a success if our minds are poisoned into thinking Europeans are our enemies. That is the only way left for Johnson to make a success of Brexit, by trying to convince us the EU is our enemy.

“Then whatever problems we ­suffer, whatever downsides we have to live with, they will be justified because they are our way of fighting back against the enemy.”