Brexiteers have reacted with fury over plans for the EU to use the deal they made with Rishi Sunak to force jam to be sold as “marmalade” in parts of the UK.
The fate of everyone’s favourite breakfast fruit preserve has become the latest example seized on by Brexiteers that Brexit has not been properly completed.
It has also raised new questions over the Windsor Framework deal signed by Mr Sunak with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to solve the Northern Ireland problem.
Now, according to the Belfast Telegraph, the EU is planning on using its powers over Northern Ireland to force shops there to label jam as marmalade and marmalade as citrus marmalade.
Brexiteer Tory Dudley North MP Marco Longhi labelled the plan as “nuts”.
Another senior Tory said: “Normally politicians are accused of offering jam tomorrow, apparently we cannot even do that thanks to the Windsor Framework.
“It’s really getting sticky for us and the Prime Minister has landed us in a bit of a pickle.”
The issue was raised in an updated version off the EU Breakfast Directive in a memorandum to the Commons European Scrutiny Committee.
The changes would also see minimum fruit content of jams and marmalades would be increased from 35 per cent to 45 per cent.
Food minister Mark Spencer said that the UK Government was still assessing the directive.
The report to the committee said: “They contain several technical changes to EU rules which the government needs to investigate further and discuss with stakeholders, particularly those businesses that will be affected.
“This will include consideration of whether it is in the best interest of the UK to consider similar changes.
“He [the minister] considers the most significant change to be the introduction of a new category of reduced sugar fruit juice.
“This, says the minister, offers potential advantages on the grounds of health and improved consumer choice.
“Encouraging the production of jams with higher fruit content is broadly in line with previous UK proposed measures to reduce the sugar content of jam in line with reducing sugar intake.
“The minister notes that the changes to use of the term ‘marmalade’ could be confusing for UK consumers as the terms ‘marmalade’ and ‘jam’ are not interchangeable in the UK and have differing requirements.”
But Brexiteers have seized on “the madness” of the latest EU intervention on Britain’s sovereign territory despite Brexit.
Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib said: “What a pickle the Windsor Framework has created for Northern Ireland, but it would be more apt to describe it as a bit of a jam. For the subject de jour is just that, jam.
WWe now have the smoking gun proof needed that Northern Ireland has been left behind in the EU. Traditional British jams in Northern Ireland are henceforth going to be called marmalades. Europeans cannot, for some reason, discern the difference.
“But fear not, to clarify matters, what we call marmalade will be called citrus marmalade.”
He went on: “Winnie the Pooh’s favourite spread will still be available, it just will not be quintessentially British.
“And that is the serious point here. Northern Ireland has been economically and culturally split away from Great Britain as a result of the Northern Ireland Protocol and its progeny, the Windsor Framework.
“I will never forgive Messrs Johnson and Sunak for partitioning the United Kingdom. Abject political weakness leading to horrendous constitutional self-harm. These gents broke our country.”
Meanwhile, DUP MP Sammy Wilson told the Belfast Telgraph that the proposals were “nonsensical”.
He said: “So, we can be in a jam, but we can’t have jam is what the EU is really saying here.
“This is just a good example of the kind of madness we expected to be free from when we left the European Union.
“It’s nonsensical and will now be likely imposed on us – and there’s nothing we can do about it because we’ve been left in the single market.
“When the government tells us things are normal and we’ve nothing to worry about, you get things like this.”