You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

The latest idea from a Brexit official: Replace EU safety checks with Amazon reviews

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 04/10/2017 NIcholas Cecil

Ministers are looking for “quick wins” to move away from the European safety standards regime, according to a leaked email.

A Brexit official in the Business Department also suggested in the message that Amazon reviews could replace the “CE European standards mark” in the eyes of online shoppers. The revelations immediately sparked concerns that the system for ensuring the safety of electrical equipment, toys, machinery, medical devices and other products could be watered down after Britain quits the EU.

The CE marking shows that a manufacturer has checked that their products meet EU safety, health or environmental requirements, indicates compliance with EU legislation and allows the free movement of products within the European market. In the email, the Brexit official asks for any “evidence, anecdotal or otherwise, that businesses are saying they don’t want divergence”.

She then adds: “Similarly, any sectors who are suggesting they would like early divergence (we are also looking for quick wins!)”.

The message then discusses the shift in shopping trends to online.

“I actually wonder, given the UK consumer penchant for internet shopping, the extent to which an Amazon review will supersede any mark to demonstrate conformity with safety requirements,” the official says.

Labour expressed alarm at the remarks in the email, which were made in response to a document by the techUK trade body on the CE marking system.

Shadow Brexit minister Matthew Pennycook said: “This comment from a Government official should concern us all. The safe use of medical equipment and children’s toys cannot be guaranteed in the same way as one would review the latest blockbuster or episode of Game of Thrones.

“Ministers should ensure that after Britain leaves the European Union consumers remain certain that the products they buy are safe, and that our exporters can continue to easily sell their products abroad.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “Until we leave the EU, the UK Government continues to implement European regulations.

“This correspondence does not indicate future policy direction, but was part of a normal engagement process with industry stakeholders.”

Ministers have been pushing for a deal with the EU in the “divorce talks”, including a multi-billion bill which the UK is expected to have to pay, so we can move on to negotiations over future trade deal.

However, it appears increasingly likely that the departure talksnegotiations will not have progressed sufficiently for EU leaders to agree at a summit later this month for trade talks to start.

Theresa May has also outlined British proposals for a transition period of around two years from when Britain formally quits the EU in March 2019.While t

The Government has warned Brussels that if it seeks to punish the UK for leaving the EU Britain could become a low-tax, low-regulation economy which could threaten their social market economic model. @nicholascecil

© Provided by Independent Print Limited © Provided by Independent Print Limited

More From Evening Standard

Evening Standard
Evening Standard
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon