LETTER: Mr Pendle column was a ‘disgrace’

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CONTRARY to the nonsense spouted by Mr Pendle (November 16th), there is no European Union ruling the sale of home-made preserves in used jam jars breaches health regulations.

The EU has not put at risk church fetes or village fairs, the EU is not threatening the people who make home-made jam with six months in jail and the EU does not make and does not enforce criminal law.

The UK Independence Party has made claims about these matters and they are false, but then truth and UKIP are not concepts that fit comfortably together. UKIP’s approach is to take examples of EU legislation and twist their interpretation in ways never intended and never applied. One day I expect UKIP to say that under EU law pigs could fly, but it still won’t be true!

Britain and its EU partners have for years required businesses selling food to comply with basic hygiene rules. The legislation is not intended to apply to voluntary concerns. It is up to local councils to enforce the rules and no one has ever been prosecuted for making home-made preserves.

I don’t get the chance to read Mr Pendle’s outpourings very often, but I do know serious debate about the EU in Britain is poisoned by nonsense of the kind he spouts.

Standards are agreed to protect us to improve quality, to ensure that competition is fair, to increase opportunities for trade. Is there anyone who opposes this? For 40 years the UK has been setting these standards as part of a European Union that is the largest trading bloc in the world.

If Britain leaves the EU these standards will continue to be set, and British manufacturers will have to comply with them if they want to sell their products abroad, but British representatives will play no part in setting them. If anyone thinks this will increase British influence I think they are deceiving themselves.

If Mr Pendle does not want to be accused of deliberately setting out to deceive his readers, he should check his facts. His column was a disgrace to journalism.


Liberal Democrat MEP for the North West