Brexit news: Hancock hits out at EU vaccine ‘protectionism’ and ports plead for money amid border chaos

Adam Forrest and Liam James
·2 min read
Boris Johnson said he wanted to ‘drive a green and sustainable recovery from Covid-19’ (PA)
Boris Johnson said he wanted to ‘drive a green and sustainable recovery from Covid-19’ (PA)

Matt Hancock decried vaccine “protectionism” on Tuesday after the EU threatened to tighten rules on exports of jabs produced within its borders.

The health secretary said what he deemed “narrow nationalism” was “not the right approach in a pandemic”, following similar remarks from Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, along with some more aggressive ones from backbenchers including David Jones, a member of the hardline European Research Group, who accused Brussels of being “childish and spiteful”.

Earlier, leading financial analysts warned that Britain’s economy is set to become “significantly smaller” because of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal.

In a scathing report, Moody’s, a major financial services agency, concluded the deal was “skewed in favour of the EU” and “lacks substance in areas vital to the UK economy, such as services”.

Meanwhile, Britain’s port chiefs warned the government that new border infrastructure needed to manage post-Brexit bureaucracy was still not meeting requirements due to inadequate funding.

After receiving just over half of the £32m funding requested to deal with new border rules, Portsmouth International Port said the import of livestock for breeding could come to an end if more money was not provided.

Elsewhere, the government faced backlash from campaigners and charities over a six-month delay to flagship environmental legislation on pollution, wildlife protection and cutting waste.

Friends of the Earth campaigner Kierra Box said the delay to the Environment Bill was “not the action of a government wanting to demonstrate world leadership on the environmental crisis”.

In other news, at a meeting of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday afternoon, MPs heard the Conservatives acted illegally by collecting ethnicity data on millions of people.

Data purchased by the party before the 2019 general election, which estimated a person’s county of origin, ethnic origin and religion based on their first and last name, was deleted after the Information Commissioner intervened, MPs heard.