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Brexiteer MP pilloried after accusing France of acting like ‘dictators’ over Dover Port blockade

Tory Brexiteer MP Andrew Bridgen. Photograph: Channel 4 News. - Credit: Archant

A Brexiteer MP has come under heavy criticism for suggesting France was “holding the UK to ransom” after it closed its borders into Britain to contain a new strain of the coronavirus.

ERG member Andrew Bridgen said France has been acting like “dictators” after it decided to close the Eurotunnel and ban flights from the UK after a new, highly-infectious strain of Covid-19 was picked up by scientists.

Several EU countries have halted travel to and from Britain in order to contain a spread of the new virus.

Belgium, Italy, and the Netherlands stopped flights from the UK on Sunday while France imposed a 48-hour blockade of English ports while more work is undertaken to assess the virulence of mutant strain.

The shutdown has caused long freight queues and significant supply chain disruptions at the Port of Dover.

Venting his disapproval of France’s action on Twitter, Bridgen wrote: “Massive over reaction by France in closing borders and interrupting trade due to the new strain of Covid-19.

“Trying to hold the U.K to ransom is the modus operandi of successive dictators we have defeated. Definitely something ‘fishy’ about all this.”

John Elledge swiftly replied: “Take some responsibility for once in your life.”

Liz Anderson quipped: “France is a sovereign nation exercising its sovereignty. Fancy that.”

@Socilaistdawn shared a GIF of someone in a tin foil hat while one user, by the name of Ross, posted: “China closed borders 23 days after it’s first recognised case. Korea in 12 days Japan, 17 days Thailand, 6 days New Zealand, 9 days. It is 321 days since the first case of Covid in the UK, and we still haven’t restricted our borders. ‘They’ are not the problem, Andrew. We are.”

MORE: ‘As thick as two planks’: Brexiteer MP mocked after proposal for new tariff system

Otto English posted: “Don’t worry Andrew. The EU have no control over their borders. Anyone can go through them. It’s fine. Ask Nigel Farage.”

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@MumofFatCassie wrote: “Breaking: Man who vociferously campaigned to ‘take back control of our borders’ complains when other countries take back control of theirs.”