'As thick as two planks': Brexiteer MP mocked after proposal for new tariff system

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen - Credit: Twitter

A Brexiteer MP has been described as "thick as two short planks" after suggesting tariffs on EU goods would help Britain cover export costs after it leaves the trading bloc.

Andrew Bridgen has become the centre of ridicule after suggesting Britain could use levies imposed on EU-imported products to reimburse exporters hit with new fees after Brexit.

Asked how Britain would deal with a no-deal Brexit while in the midst of a pandemic, Bridgen told Sky News: "Well, it's the same for both sides, which is why the EU still consider there is still scope for negotiations.

"We're their biggest customer... If we went to tariffs, we could reimburse out of the tariffs we receive from the EU all our exporters in full and still pocket £12-14 billion a year.

"That's not necessarily the worst deal in the world."

If London and Brussels fail to reach a post-Brexit trade deal, companies on both sides of the Channel face a wave of new tariffs.

A Tory MP has admitted those tariffs could lead to food shortages while a leaked "worst-case scenario" report by the government warns of possible shortages of medicines and the use of the military to patrol streets.

Many took to Twitter to vent their frustration with Bridgen's remarks.

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Scientists for EU co-founder Dr Mike Galsworthy posted: "Brexiteers who used to crow about Brexit meaning free trade & zero tariffs everywhere... are now rubbing their hands at the thought of high tariff walls so they can extract money from the EU - not realising tariffs come from your own importers."

Andy Squibb wrote: "Why doesn’t a bloody law-maker — @ABridgen, understand, that the UK does not ‘receive’ tariffs from other countries. Tariffs are levied on / collected from importers by HMG/HMRC, with consumers paying the price."

Grahame Morrison added: "Given the competition, it can't be easy to stand out as a dipstick in the Tory Party, but Andrew Bridgen manages to do so without any real effort."

One user, by the name Morkris, described Bridgen as "thick as two short planks" but felt that was too kind of an assertion. 

@jonpsmith quipped: "Surely people shouldn't be allowed into parliament if they don't have a basic understanding of.. well anything really."

Dick van Drijver added: "I think, if I'm being very charitable, Bridgen is proposing to reimburse exporting companies the tariffs charged to EU consumers on UK goods, using money collected by HMG from tariffs charged on imported EU goods. Such a scheme would be unworkable and possibly illegal."

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