French newspaper asks: is Brexit Britain going to run out of toilet paper?

Morph Holland outside Tesco Extra in Hornchurch after they came to his aid after tweeting that his t

Morph Holland outside Tesco Extra in Hornchurch after they came to his aid after tweeting that his toilet cubicle had ran out of toilet paper. - Credit: Archant

One of France's leading newspapers has told its readers that Britain's chaotic EU exit could see it run out of loo rolls.

The Brexiteers told us Britain's swashbuckling exit from the EU would lead to a domino effect across Europe, as envious other countries saw how a global UK would thrive outside the bloc.

But in actual fact they are watching on with jaws dropped, now at the news that the country could run out of toilet paper.

In news that could inspire a charity record by the Gallic equivalent of Bob Geldof and Midge Ure, Le Monde, one of France's leading newspapers, has told its readers how a no-deal Brexit could stop supplies of 'this indispensable product'.

'The future of the Northern Irish border? The loss of the European financial passport?,' it says.

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'No, it is a more prosaic subject that seems to bother the former British minister for European Affairs, Denis MacShane, in the event of Brexit without an agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union.'

The paper reports that former Labour minister McShane told the TV programme C dans l'air that the British were the largest consumers of toilet paper in Europe,

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If the customs barriers were suddenly restored, he said, there would be endless queues of trucks blocked at the borders.

'There is only one day of stock at home,' he said.

According to the market research portal Statista, in 2017 Britain's annual consumption was 127 rolls per head, against 134 rolls for Germany and only 71 rolls for France.

'On top of that,' Le Monde warns, 'the country is very dependent on the outside, since more than 80% of its supply depends on raw material or imported rolls. And these, being bulky, are not easy to store.'

But Andrew Large, CEO of the British Confederation of Paper Industries, said the country had reserves of pulp to make paper for few months, and finished products to cover two to three weeks.

'I can calm the concerns over toilet paper,' he said.

But McShane was quoted as telling C dans l'air he had his own plans. 'I'm starting to cut newspapers, especially Rupert Murdoch's, and I'm doing my little personal stock,' he said.

Nigel Farage's claims that Brexit would lead to a clamour for Frexit seems a long way off.

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