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Boris Johnson Could Break the Law over Brexit in the Name of Cheap Wine

The government’s announcement of duty free benefits in the event of no-deal isn’t all that it seems

An advert depicting HM Treasury’s announcement that in the event of no deal Brexit, duty free shopping will return HM Treasury

The government’s latest wheeze is all about cigarettes and alcohol

Last night, HM Treasury announced that in the event of a no deal Brexit — and a no deal Brexit only — “beer, wine, spirits and cigarettes will all be duty free for people travelling to the EU if we leave without a deal.” This applies only to goods bought in stipulated “duty free” shops — largely found at airports — and is a trade off with current regulations which allow practically unlimited purchase of wine, beer, and cigarettes in regular shops in EU countries. That limit will shrink, if Brexit goes ahead, to 16 litres of beer / 4 litres of wine / 200 cigarettes, so the “duty free” promise significantly worsens travellers’ ability to bring home goods; the promise of “duty free” also fails to account for the fact that if duty is paid in the EU, it is not levied again in the U.K. The final, most obvious thing, is that for now at least, a no deal Brexit on 31 October would be unlawful.

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