Brexit POLL: Should Boris Johnson ban EU drinking water from UK?

Brexit: Andrew Bridgen praises trade deal with the EU

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Andrew Bridgen, a member of the European Research Group (ERG), is one of 12 MPs to put his name to the letter, written in response to the bloc’s decision to refuse to allow the import of unprocessed shellfish from the UK. An estimated £17billion’s worth of bottled water is imported from the EU every year, with brands including Volvic, from France.

However, North West Leicestershire Mr Bridgen, who coordinated the letter, pointed out the same logic which the EU has used to reject UK shellfish also applies to bottled water coming the other day.

The letter explains: “The UK presently imports huge volumes of bottled water from the EU.

“The purity of this water we take on trust, as the EU used to do with our shellfish prior to 1st January this year.

“As you know the UK have some of the highest standards of tap water in the world.”

The letter adds: “We are therefore urging you to consider a ban of the importation of bottled water products from the EU.

“This could all be replaced with domestic products, and would also have significant environmental benefits, as there can be few things more wasteful than transporting bottled water and its packaging around the world.”

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Furthermore, the letter urged Lord Frost, who negotiated the UK’s trade deal with the EU and who is now a member of the cabinet, to “look into EU food standards”.

The MPs claim: “Only this week, five people are suspected to have died and hundreds more became seriously ill after eating contaminated chicken imported from the EU.”

It concludes: “Throughout the last four years of negotiations, and in particular with regard to the interpretation of legal agreements, the EU has taken every advantage of playing the cad and the UK have every disadvantage of playing the gentleman.

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“It’s time for the UK to make a stand and say ’No’ to the EU, until they lift their ban on UK shellfish.”

Other signatories include former ERG chairman and Tory MP for Wycombe Steve Baker and Kettering MP Philip Hollobone, a drinking water analyst before entering Parliament.

Speaking to yesterday’s Sunday Express, a Government insider said the EU’s behaviour had “more often than not been divisive”.

They added: “Their actions suggest they are more interested in punishing the UK than in cooperation.

“Ministers are considering potential areas of leverage to work in our interests, but our priority is to ensure a friendly and productive relationship, and we are working at pace to deliver that.”

However, not everyone agrees with Mr Bridgen’s interpretation.

Speaking to Express.co.uk last week, Jeremy Percy, chairman of the New Under Tens Fishing Association (NUFTA), claimed the Government, specifically Environment Secretary George Eustice, had been disingenuous in trying to blame Brussels.

He explained: “To add insult to injury, the whole issue of the export of live bivalves came to the fore and was immediately complicated by statements from Eustice et al that flip-flopped between ‘it’s all the fault of that nasty EU’ and just plain lies that this is illegal.

“As it turned out, not only was the EU doing no more than merely sticking to the very same rules that we were a signatory to but Eustice and co moved from their original claims ‘the dog ate my homework’ to coming relatively clean as soon as the statement he made to the industry body the Shellfish Association of GB, that admitted that it was our fault for not spotting the threat, became public knowledge.”

The UK Government previously told exporters the ban would end on April 21, when Brussels is due to brining in new animal health legislation – but an EU Commission official has since confirmed this is not the case.

An email sent on January 19 and seen by the Politics Home website warned it was “strictly forbidden for bivalve molluscs originating from third countries, such as UK” which were not fit for human consumption to enter the EU at any point, adding “molluscs accompanied by an aquaculture certificate, wild or from aquaculture, cannot in any case reach a depuration centre in the EU”.

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