UK

Tory MP John Redwood Says We Don't Need European Wine, Cheese And Cars Post-Brexit

'Have it with some straight British bananas.'

21/04/2017 15:08 BST | Updated 21/04/2017 16:35 BST

A Tory MP has been roundly mocked for suggesting the British public will be well-catered for by UK-produced cars, wine and cheese in the event the EU imposes high import tariffs post-Brexit.

John Redwood, the Oxford-educated MP for Wokingham and director of the NM Rothschild merchant bank, wrote a blog titled “Buying things from the EU” and helpfully tweeted some choice snippets.

As well as cars and wine he also said of cheese: “There are many great English cheese, so you don’t need to buy French.

“There is such an abundance of choice.”

In short, Brexit will be fine just be prepared to give up some of the world’s finest wines and cheeses and most reliably-made cars.

Others had a more pointed message.

 

There are a number of issues with Redwood’s assertions.

First and foremost is the assumption British purchasers of cars, cheese and wine would be happy without the option of buying continental products.

Judging by sales figures for wine bought in the UK last year this doesn’t seem likely.

Although New World wines are on the up in the UK against their European counterparts, we Brits still sent a whopping £386m on French wine alone last year.

Add Roquefort, Gouda, Edam, Brie and Feta to the list and there may well be riots in the streets.

According to a 2015 poll, five of the top 10 most popular cheeses in the UK were non-British.

As for cars, Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, told Theresa May in January tariffs would be a “red line” issue for UK manufacturers that would lead to a fall in sales and potentially result in job losses.

Added to that is the precarious situation facing the UK car industry post-Brexit - most major manufacturers, even traditionally British brands like Jaguar, are owned by foreign conglomerates.  

Last month The Guardian traced the 2,000 mile, multiple cross-Channel trip a Mini (owned by German BMW) crankshaft takes before it rolls off the production line, highlighting just how intertwined the UK car industry is with the EU.

Just today the chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover warned of the effects of Brexit, saying that his company might not be able to attract top engineering talent after Britain leaves the European Union, due to higher immigration controls.