‘Taking the mickey!’ Jacob Rees-Mogg blasts EU over ‘petty’ post-Brexit fine

‘Taking the mickey!’ Jacob Rees-Mogg blasts EU over ‘petty’ post-Brexit fine

Jacob Rees-Mogg says the EU is 'taking the mickey'

Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 29/09/2023

- 17:55

The European Court of Justice imposed a penalty that almost doubled initial recommendations

Jacob Rees-Mogg has accused European judges of “taking the mickey” with their decision to fine the UK €32 million (£28 million) over its failure to impose EU rules on diesel.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) imposed a penalty that almost doubled initial recommendations by advisers in a ruling the Government fear could set a precedent for future dealings with the bloc.

The EU set the fine based on the UK’s economy rather than Northern Ireland - where the breach took place - as they feared the fine would not have been “sufficiently dissuasive”.

GB News host Jacob Rees-Mogg has hit out at the bloc, suggesting they are acting in a “petty” manner as the fine was enforced despite the UK leaving the EU.

Jacob Rees-Mogg and EU Parliament

Jacob Rees-Mogg has hit out at Brussels over its 'petty' fine


“Normally, the ECJ follows the advice of the senior attorney, so to practically double the fine is taking the mickey”, he said.

“This is a reminder of why we voted to leave. It is a trivial thing, it is a tax raid on fuel going into pleasure craft, it’s not like we are smashing up the single market.


“It’s just this petty detail that the EU has always loved because even though we have left, the EU still wants to have the tentacle of the superstate getting into the UK.”

Under the Windsor Framework, Northern Ireland remains bound to any EU rules for goods to prevent a hard border with the Republic.

A ruling in 2018 found Britain had failed to implement an EU ban on use of red diesel in canal boats or yachts.

Britain felt it needed more time to enforce the ruling as it was dealing with the 2019 general election as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

Anti-Brexit campaigners wave Union and European Union flags outside the Houses of Parliament

Brexit has become a divisive topic in Britain


Marine fuel laws in Northern Ireland were not fully imposed to comply with EU rules until October 2021.

The post-Brexit transition period was still in full flow when the initial legal case opened against the UK in 2020.

David Jones, a former Brexit minister, told The Telegraph: “The attitude is what it always was. The EU has always wanted to punish the UK for daring to exercise its treaty right to leave.

“NI is the EU’s continuing leverage over the whole of the UK. It is exercising that leverage and will continue to do so until we take steps to break it.

“This simply underlines that the Windsor Framework is a huge ball and chain that prevents the entire UK from diverging from EU regulation.

“It needs to be renegotiated.”

The UK Government said: “This is ultimately a historic case which began at a time when the UK was a member of the EU. We have now left.

“Since then, we have negotiated the world’s largest zero tariffs and zero quotas deal with the EU, and are now focused on using our Brexit freedoms to the benefit of the British public.”

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