Ben Habib calls for EU member states to ‘take back control’
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Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib has insisted that the UK must make a success of Brexit to show other EU states that they should also leave the bloc. Speaking to the Bruges group, Mr Habib said: “I was surprised by Daniel Hannan’s eulogy to the EU on January 29 which was our last day in Parliament there. He spoke very fondly of the EU and wished them all the very best of luck, I don’t.
“They’re not our friends and partners as the Prime Minister keeps saying, EU as distinct from Europe by the way.
“Obviously we’ve got friends and partners in Europe but we don’t have any friends and partners in the EU.
“I wish the EU ill. I want the EU to collapse. I want it to cease to exist.
“I want member states to take back control of their sovereignty and the best way I think the UK can do that is to make a success of Brexit because it will show all those member states that are suffering so badly under the EU’s hegemony that they should leave.”
It comes as Michael Gove said Britain is prepared to do “whatever is required” to support its fishermen post-Brexit amid calls to board EU vessels if export barriers remain.
The Cabinet Office minister acknowledged there are “bureaucratic obstacles” to negotiate and navigate with Brussels, as he was pressed to support “retaliation” against member state vessels given the current difficulties experienced by the British industry.
Conservative MPs were among those raising concerns over extra paperwork and additional costs faced by UK fishermen despite a free trade agreement with the EU.
Mr Gove also used Cabinet Office questions to announce a £20 million Brexit support fund to help small and medium-sized businesses “adjust to new customs rules of origin and VAT rules” when trading with the EU.
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Speaking in the Commons, Conservative MP Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall) said: “Fishing exporters in my constituency are having problems exporting to the EU.
“We signed a deal that said we could export to the EU.
“What action is (Mr Gove) taking to ensure these exports happen without hindrance and will he start boarding EU vessels in retaliation if we still see this obstructive action on the part of the European Union?”
Mr Gove responded: “What we do need to do is make sure that any bureaucratic obstructions which individual EU member states may still be applying are lifted and of course as I mentioned… we will reserve our rights as an independent coastal state to do whatever is required in order to make sure that our fishermen are backed up every step of the way.”
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Conservative MP Lia Nici (Great Grimsby) said: “Grimsby fish exporters are reporting to me that despite the EU agreement for free trade, French ports are introducing additional paperwork and extra costs. They’re even insisting that we hire EU nationals to do that additional work.
“Will (Mr Gove) take this matter up so that we can make sure the people of the EU continue to enjoy the highest quality seafood in Europe processed in Great Grimsby?”
Mr Gove responded: “Well, (Ms Nici) is absolutely right, the highest quality seafood in the whole of Europe is produced in Great Grimsby, indeed I remember my dad when he ran a fish processing business sending some of the fish that he bought at Aberdeen fish market to Grimsby for subsequent processing and it was enjoyed on tables across Europe.
“And she’s absolutely right that there are still some bureaucratic obstacles that we need to negotiate and navigate.
“We have set up a specific seafood exports working group which meets twice weekly and we’re also engaging with our friends in France in order to make sure they can continue to enjoy Great Grimsby fish.”
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