“He has had his costs massively increased by Brussels bureaucrats who have insisted that each kipper must be accompanied by this, a plastic ice pillow”

Boris Johnson, final leadership hustings, London

July 16, 2019

Claim

Johnson used the example of a kipper smoker on the Isle of Man to highlight the benefits of leaving the EU. Speaking at the final Tory leadership hustings, Johnson said: “I want you to consider this kipper which has been presented to me just now by the editor of a national newspaper who received it from a kipper smoker in the Isle of Man who is utterly furious because, after decades of sending kippers like this through the post, he has had his costs massively increased by Brussels bureaucrats who have insisted that each kipper must be accompanied by this, a plastic ice pillow.” Johnson held up a kipper and an ice pillow and said coming out of the EU would “end this damaging regulatory overkill.”

Facts

BBC Reality Check pointed out that “EU regulation covers fresh fish, not smoked fish”. This means it is actually the UK’s Food Standards Agency that sets the regulations for smoked kippers. The EU told Full Fact that “The case described by Mr Johnson falls thus purely under UK national competence.”

The European Commission confirmed that it had no input on the temperature regulations for smoked kippers, or indeed any smoked or cooked fish (they do have some temperature requirements for certain molluscs and bivalves, which don’t count as “fish”).

Another issue, pointed out by the BBC’s Reality Check, is that the Isle of Man is neither in the UK nor the EU.

Verdict

Mr Johnson’s statement about the EU and kippers was false.

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