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World-Famous Pork Pies Clap Back at Boris Johnson’s Latest Food Claim

The prime minister tried to use Melton Mowbray pies as an illustration of the benefits of Brexit

Boris Johnson speaks on Melton Mowbray pork pies at the G7 summit Boris Johnson: Getty Images; Composite: Eater London

The prime minister just can’t get a grasp on food

Boris Johnson’s use of food at political summits hasn’t really taken off. The prime minister first waved a smoked fish around at the Conservative leadership hustings in protest at EU bureaucracy that is in fact not mandated by the EU at all. He ranted about the availability of Mars bars and Christmas dinners in the event of a no deal Brexit; a no deal Brexit that multiple food industry bodies warn will cause ruinous food shortages in the U.K. And now, he has misattributed the Melton Mowbray pork pie as a potential beneficiary of Brexit’s necessitating a trade deal with Donald Trump.

Johnson agitated for the removal of export limitations, citing free trade examples in Thailand and Iceland. Matthew O’Callaghan, the chairman of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, says Melton Mowbray pork pies are not exported to Thailand nor Iceland. Downing Street claims Walker and Son, a certified Melton Mowbray pork pie producer, does export them to Thailand or Iceland. The Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association says it does not, but did, as part of a trial, in 2015.

Alone, this is a minor issue. Taken together with Johnson’s citations of Mars Bars, Christmas dinners, and kippers, it contributes to his record of referring to single foodstuffs as a synecdoche for the nefarious regulatory forces of the EU and other trade bodies. This focus on individual, wildly unrepresentative instances of culinary bureaucracy is symptomatic of a wider inability and unwillingness to address both how the EU has ever systemically negatively affected Britain, and how Brexit will systemically positively affect Britain. Porkies indeed. [Guardian]

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