‘It’s over, Guy!’ Verhofstadt sparks furious backlash over Thatcher EU claim – ‘Rubbish!’
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The Belgian MEP took to Twitter to gloat over reports exports to the EU is down 68 percent since Brexit. Mr Verhofstadt said: “This is the difference between being in a single market & a basic no quotas/no tariffs policy.
“In contrast to Johnson, Thatcher – who was no lover of the EU – knew very well the difference & wanted to stay in the single market.”
But the MEP’s tweet prompted a strong response from other Twitter users.
One hit back: “Maggie believed in a common market not a political project.”
Another fumed: “But she didn’t want political union a single market is a world away from what the European is today as you well know.
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“It also has downsides which I am sure you also know.”
A third simply said: “Rubbish!”
Another wrote: “We are happy to have left the EU thank you. Our sovereignty and independence are worth it.”
A fifth blasted: “We’d love the EU if it stuck to trade, not trying to become a Federalised Superstate.”
Another added: “Sadly the EU has moved so far from the single market that it can hardly be seen from their federalist perch.
“Thatcher would have respected the opinion of the British people and would almost certainly have shared it herself.”
One more said: “It’s over Guy, we’ve left.”
Mr Verhofstadt’s tweet comes after a survey of international hauliers by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) found the volume of exports travelling from British ports to the EU fell 68 percent last month compared with the same period last year.
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The research prompted the RHA to write to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove to call for assistance with new post-Brexit paperwork.
Chief executive Richard Burnett told The Observer it had also found 65-75 percent of vehicles arriving from the EU were returning to the bloc empty due to a lack of goods, hold-ups in the UK and because British companies had halted exports to the Continent.
Mr Burnett said: “I find it deeply frustrating and annoying that ministers have chosen not to listen to the industry and experts.”
He added that Mr Gove had not responded in writing “pretty much every time we have written over the last six months”.
Mr Burnett said: “He tends to get officials to start working on things. But the responses are a complete waste of time because they don’t listen to what the issues were that we raised in the first place,” Mr Burnett said.
A Government spokesperson said: “We have had intensive engagement with the road haulage industry for many months and are still facilitating a daily call with representative groups. We do not recognise the figure provided on exports.
“Thanks to the hard work of hauliers and traders to prepare for change, disruption at the border has so far been minimal and freight movements are now close to normal levels, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We will continue to work constructively with the RHA as we adjust to our new relationship with the EU and seize the opportunities of Brexit.”
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