A Conservative MP has claimed France’s border closure with the UK is proof “we rely on imports too much”.
Brexiteer John Redwood said it was time to “make more at home”.
Sainsbury’s had warned that if the disruption continued, there would be delays in the supply of lettuce, some salad leaves, cauliflowers, broccoli and citrus fruit.
However, all of these items are imported from the continent at this time of year anyway.
Late on Sunday, France banned lorries carrying freight from the UK amid fears over a new coronavirus strain, which had prompted Saturday’s introduction of a new Tier 4 and a huge scaling back of household mixing over Christmas.
This is what Redwood posted on Twitter:
French closure of ports owing to CV19 whilst we are in the single market is bad news. Time to use the lorry parks we have built. We rely on imports too much. Let’s grow and make more at home.
— John Redwood (@johnredwood) December 21, 2020
In any case, France appeared set to end the ban on hauliers crossing the Channel on Monday afternoon.
Transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said: “In the next few hours, at European level, we’re going to establish a solid health protocol to ensure that movement from the UK can resume.
“Our priority: to protect our nationals and our fellow citizens.”
Watch: Vehicles turned away from Port of Dover as France closes border
However, UK passenger bans were set to remain in place in a number of countries.
As of 11am on Monday, they included: France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Denmark, El Salvador, Turkey, Canada and Hong Kong.
They reacted after Boris Johnson announced that the new variant of the virus is up to 70% more transmissible than the original strain, while health secretary Matt Hancock admitted it was “out of control” and that the Tier 4 lockdown may have to remain in place for months.
Concerns about the rapid spread of coronavirus were underlined with the publication of the latest official figures showing there had been a further 35,928 lab-confirmed cases in the UK as of 9am on Sunday.
Watch: Pressure on supply chain for exporters rather than importers, says food industry chief