Brexit: M&S chief slams EU's 'pointless bureaucracy' as fresh food delayed by 24 hours

13 September 2021, 13:01

By Fiona Jones

M&S chief Archie Norman condemned the post-Brexit "fandango of bureaucracy", confirming that the chain is considering ending trade with France.

Mr Norman told LBC that the difficulty Brexit poses for Marks and Spencer is that they have a big presence in the Republic of Ireland and France, which of course have both remained in the EU.

"What we've discovered is that the European rules for governing borders at the customs union are really totally out of date and not suited for the purpose they're designed for.

"What we've got is a fandango of bureaucracy."

He told LBC that lorries going to Dublin or France have to carry approximately 720 pages of documentation which takes up to 24 hours to prepare.

"Quite simply that means that our fresh sandwiches or ready meals going to Ireland or France are delayed by about a day, and that's not good if you're a sandwich."

Mr Norman continued: "These rules serve no purpose at all because our food standards are higher than the European Union's and they haven't changed since we were part of the European Union, so this is a pointless bureaucratic exercise in making it more difficult to trade and that's not in the interest of the British citizens...or the Irish or French citizens either."

The chief revealed the board "has not made a final decision" on whether chain will close stores in France due to difficulties trading, but are expecting this could be the case soon.