Brexiteer says EU 'spiteful' to end fast-track lanes for Brits after Brexit

Former Brexit Party candidate Glenn Thompson appearing in a promotional video

Former Brexit Party candidate Glenn Thompson - Credit: YouTube

A former Brexit Party candidate has accused the EU of being 'spiteful' after it rejected a UK request to allow Britons to continue using passport fast lanes across Europe after Brexit.

Ex-South Shields Brexit Party candidate and South Tyneside councillor Glenn Thompson accused the EU of "spite [and] nothing else" after it emerged the bloc refused to give Britons preferential treatment at passport checkpoints across Europe from January 1.

The European Commission rejected Britain's offer to maintain reciprocal access to fast lanes after Brexit meaning Britons will soon have to join potentially long queues at arrival gates when they enter an EU member state.

This comes as the European Tourism Association warned that it could as long as five hours for Britons to pass through passport checks at popular European travel destinations such as Faro and Tenerife.

British negotiators had asked Brussels to allow other EU countries to continue giving UK passport holders the same level of access they enjoy now as a de facto member of the EU, despite repeated warnings Brexit would signal the end of frictionless travel.

This led one EU diplomat to declare the "EU law currently reserves use of e-gates to holders of EU/EEA/CH passports".

E-gates electronically scan biometric passports meaning travellers do not have to be physically checked by a border guard.

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Incensed by the news, Thompson took to Twitter, posting a link to a story on the new restrictions with the comment: "Just spite, nothing else!".

Users were quick to correct the councillor.

Anti-Brexit campaigner Steve Bray tweeted: "You were told the consequences. You voted for it calling it 'Project Fear'. Tough sh*t. Suck it up buttercup. #BrexitReality."

Sarah Hurst wrote: "Mate, this is literally what we asked for."

Jessica Simon QC said: "I thought your political party advocated treating EU citizens in exactly the same way as any other non-British citizen. That is all that is happening - it's just that it's happening to us."

"What did you think the end of freedom of movement meant?" asked Debora Robertson before one user quipped: "Oh dear. What a pity. Never mind. Should have voted to stay in the EU, then."

Another member, by the name of Dr Beyer, said: "This is what happens when you leave the EU. You stop being able to use the EU/EEA queue. Nothing to do with spite. Time for a reality check, I think."

Thompson shot back, posting: "A source in the UK negotiating team said: 'We have offered to discuss access to e-gates in line with our previously published positions.' Access to EU gates hasn’t been discussed in the formal trade negotiations so far. It is beneficial to both the EU and UK and will be negotiated."

Thompson rowed with Femi, another anti-Brexit advocate, accusing him of coming from a privileged background. Arthur Smith shot back: "It must take an enormous sense of entitlement to leave the EU and expect access to the EU gates as though nothing happened. We may negotiate that but there will be a cost elsewhere."

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