Ben Habib calls for EU member states to ‘take back control’
Sign up to receive our rundown of the day’s
direct to your inbox
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters.
Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer.
Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights.
You can unsubscribe at any time.
And former Brexit Party MEP Mr Habib stressed Brussels was treating the UK with “contempt” as he urged Mr Johnson to pull the plug on the “lousy” agreement. The UK is currently banned from exporting untreated shellfish to the continent, with the European Commission confirming the rules were permanent, despite previous assurances by Defra they would be phased out after April.
However, an investigation by the Politico website indicated other sectors were also impacted, including chilled meat such as sausages, ground meat and burgers, seed potatoes, and ungraded eggs – in other words, eggs which are not of sufficient quality to be sent to packing centres for grading.
Mr Habib, who is chairman of new media channel Unlocked_UK, as well as of BrexitWatch, was deeply unimpressed.
He told Express.co.uk: “The Prime Minister sold the Trade and Cooperation Agreement as a free trade agreement.
Boris Johnson was roundly criticised by former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib (Image: GETTY)
Unprocessed shellfish from UK cannot be exported to the EU as things stand (Image: GETTY)
“In reality what we got was an agreement which allowed the EU to freely sell its goods into our markets but for our goods to be unable to get into the EU.
“Moreover, Michael Gove unilaterally waived all import declarations for imports coming in from Europe for the first six months of 2021.
“The EU‘s response to that generosity was to regard our goods with the greatest of suspicion and requiring the highest level of import clearances. The best example is with our fish.
Boris Johnson signs the TCA, watched by UK negotiator Lord David Frost (Image: GETTY)
“It would be farcical, but for the seriousness of the matter, that the EU can fish in our waters unfettered and take back to the continent whatever it likes.
“Whereas fish we catch in our own waters are prohibited from entering the EU.”
Referring to the ongoing export restrictions, he added: “As ever the EU is treating the UK with contempt and our politicians and leaders are asleep on the job.
Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Image: GETTY)
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission (Image: GETTY)
“The TCA is a lousy agreement and the sooner the Prime Minister wakes up to that and takes action the better.”
Speaking about the current situation, a spokesman for the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) said in order to access the EU’s single market, Export Health Certificates require frozen meat products to been kept at temperatures be below -18C.
The new restrictions are likely to have an impact on retail sales into Ireland, the spokesman warned.
He added: “As a member of the EU, we were not subject to this but we are now.
EU fisheries mapped (Image: Express)
“Businesses will likely move some production away from Great Britain and into plants in the EU.”
When news of the indefinite raw shellfish ban emerged last month, Rob Benson, a co-director of Kingfisher Seafoods, based in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, said his company would have to invest £1million on processing equipment, packing and labelling – something it could not afford to do.
He added: He explained: “Our business relies almost entirely on sending live cockles and mussels for further processing in the EU.
“Our sales have dropped off a cliff since December 31. We were bracing ourselves to keep going until April but this news has all but destroyed any hope we had of the future.
Seed potatoes are also currently restricted (Image: GETTY)
“This is not a teething issue, this is the government removing all our teeth and leaving us unable to eat.”
Britain and the EU are discussing the possibility of removing some of the existing barriers by mutually recognising each other’s standards.
A Government spokesman said: “Given the EU’s current position, we will now continue to make the case to the EU, where we can evidence that we meet the criteria set out in their regulations, to enable continued trade in these products.”
Nevertheless, they added: “Having secured a high-quality free trade agreement with the EU we will not be reopening the negotiations, although we remain committed to doing all we can to support exporters as they adjust to the new processes.”