Boris Johnson’s claim that British kipper producers are being hit by EU food safety rules has been rejected as false by Brussels, who said the regulations came from the UK government.

The Tory leadership favourite dramatically waved a smoked fish above his head as he told Tory activists at a hustings on Wednesday that producers were “furious” at the extra costs caused by EU red tape.

He claimed Brussels was demanding that each vacuum-packed kipper sent through the post had to be accompanied by a plastic ice pillow.

And he said that leaving the EU would allow the UK to end this “damaging regulatory overkill”.

However, the European Commission food safety spokeswoman Anca Paduraru told a Brussels press conference: “The case described by Mr Johnson falls outside the scope of EU legislation and is purely a UK national competence.”


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