Labour’s war on the cross-Channel shopper continues

Conservatives have the blues over Booze cruise dues

The European Parliament has voted to restore the limits on the amount of tobacco and alcohol that can be brought into the UK from within the single market, Sir Robert Atkins MEP, warned today.

Despite Labour opposition in 2005, MEPs then voted to scrap the indicative levels that were too often misinterpreted as mandatory in the UK - which led to innocent consumers having thousands of pounds worth of goods seized, and vehicles crushed.

But amendments put forward by the socialist group in the European Parliament - and supported by British Labour and Liberal Democrat MEPs, have called for the guidelines to be reinstated - against the proposals of the European Commission. The Parliament’s final position was adopted by a wafer-thin majority - 315 votes to 310.

Conservative MEPs are now calling on the British government to disown the actions of Labour MEPs and back up its rhetoric of supporting the single market.

The European Commission began legal action against the UK over its heavy-handed treatment of ‘booze cruisers’, but dropped the case after the government agreed to soften its stance.

Sir Robert said:

“Labour’s war on the single market rights of British consumers has not abated.

“In the past, Customs officers have treated these guidelines as mandatory, and perfectly innocent shoppers were treated like hardened smugglers. We all hoped this kind of arbitrary behaviour was behind us, but it seems Labour and Liberal Democrat MEPs are content to return to those dire days.

“Labour MEPs claim they want a single market, yet only in areas where the government does not receive significant revenue.

“As Christmas approaches, many shoppers will take advantage of cheaper produce from the Continent. Why should they feel a cloud of suspicion is hanging over them, simply for exercising their rights?”

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