Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin is writing to all 650 MPs to highlight how the customs union, and therefore the EU tariff system works, following an exchange with a Labour and a Conservative MP.
Mr Martin appeared alongside Conservative MP Vicky Ford and Labour MP Rushanara Ali, as well as The Observer chief leader writer, Sonia Sodha, on the BBC Politics Live programme.
He said: “I was astounded to discover that representatives of the major political parties had no idea about the basic mechanics of the customs union and the EU tariff system.
“Ms Sodha incorrectly said on the programme, supported by the two MPs, that “it’s just wrong to argue that the EU is protectionist…the EU is not protectionist. It’s ridiculous to argue that it is.”
“The MPs and the journalist were obviously completely unaware that the customs union is an undisguised protectionist system that imposes import taxes on 12,651 non-EU imports, including oranges, rice, bananas and children’s clothes and shoes.
“The customs union pushes up prices for consumers and the tariff income is collected by the UK government and is sent to Brussels.
“It is worrying that MPs representing our major parties, and a senior journalist, have no knowledge at all as to how the customs operates – and how it costs their constituents and readers money every day.
“I am writing to all MPs on this subject and hope that there is less chance of this sort of misinformation being broadcast on national television in the future.”