‘EU bullies WON’T get our jabs!’ MPs demand Boris snub bloc even after Brits vaccinated

Boris Johnson addresses EU ‘demand’ for coronavirus vaccines

A vicious row between the EU and AstraZeneca hit boiling point last night after the drugs manufacturer warned the bloc it could not fulfil its vaccine agreement. Brussels was told it would only receive a quarter of the doses it was expecting in the coming months, due to supply problems.

A bitter briefing war has begun with the EU accusing AstraZeneca of giving the UK preferential treatment.

The bloc has even suggested some doses earmarked for Britain should be redeployed by the vaccine producer to make up for the shortage on the continent.

Tory MPs have criticised the bloc for “bullying” and said any excess jabs the UK has should go to other nations around the world before the EU.

Former Cabinet minister John Redwood told Express.co.uk: “If the EU really believed their solidarity argument, they would be asking us to share our vaccines with the emerging market countries who are getting practically no vaccines rather than with the EU who are already getting some vaccine.”

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Criticising the EU’s tone he added: “We’re a very friendly, free trading, open nation, and we want to be good allies and friends of the EU.

“But if they just keep on provoking us and trying to play politics at our expense, they should expect us to stand up to them.”

Wellingborough MP Peter Bone commended AstraZeneca for refusing to cave in the face of pressure from the EU and added countries such as Brazil and Mexico had far greater need of any surplus UK jabs.

“I think the EU is acting like a bully and I don’t like bullies,” he told this website.

“AstraZeneca is standing up to bullies and I think the EU should be ashamed of itself for covering up its incompetence, bureaucracy and petty political in-fighting.”

He continued: “We should be directing the vaccines to the places that have had the worse of the pandemic.

“We clearly have one of the worst death rates from this.

“If we’ve got surplus, it should be going to those countries where there is a problem.

“I’m pretty sure that would be places like Mexico or Brazil. Not the European Union.”

North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen said there was an argument for the UK to divert some of its vaccines to the EU, but only once Brits had been vaccinated.

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He said: “I wrote to the Prime Minister in early December urging him to use the aid budget to help developing countries as soon as we’ve got ourselves sorted.

“We should be using our aid budget to get vaccines out to developing countries – I didn’t expect we’d have to bail out the European Union but it looks like we will.

“We’ve got a land border with Ireland, so they should be the top of our the priority list within the EU.”

Criticising Brussels “bureaucracy”, he added: “Because they are in the EU, I don’t believe Brussels would allow us to supply them with vaccines directly, we’d probably have to go through the Commission.”

Their comments came after the EU said it “rejected” the idea the UK should receive vaccines first because it had sorted out its contract well in advance of the bloc.

EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides yesterday demanded the AstraZeneca drugs manufactured in the UK should be sent to the continent.

She told a press conference: “In the contracts there are four factories listed but it does not differentiate between the UK and Europe.

“The UK factories are part of our advance purchase agreements and that is why they have to deliver.

“We expect the doses that are in an advance purchase agreement to be delivered to the European Union.”

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