EU red tape leaves girl without wheelchair as UK tells bloc to stand down on trade rules

Brexit: Radio caller reveals daughter can’t receive wheelchair

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Distraught father Dan White contacted LBC to rise the case of his daughter Emily who underwent surgery for scoliosis last year. On the advice of the surgeon, Mr White had put in an order for a specialist custom made wheelchair but later learned vital parts had been held up by “pure red tape.” It comes ahead of Michael Gove and the European Union’s Maros Sefcovic meeting on Thursday as part of crunch talks held in a bid to increase the post-Brexit grace period. 

So far the two sides have been unable to agree on the length of the extension.

Mr White explained to LBC: “The first things the surgeon said to us upon release was that it is imperative you get Emily a new chair.

“To help strengthen the surgery. So we went alone, we ordered the new wheelchair, Emily picked the colour. She was measured and everything like that,” he continued.

“Then we waited and we waited, we put in phone call after phone call.

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“Eventually one early morning phone call from the supplier to say everything is proceeding but there is an issue – the spare parts we need to finish the chair are being held up.

“Of course we asked what the hold-up was and he just said the one word, which was Brexit.”

He added: “All my realisations and everything I’d been thinking about Brexit was confirmed.

“Her surgery is in danger of being undone because she is stuck in a wheelchair that is not fit for purpose.

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“She is in constant agony purely because spares and essentials needed to fit this chair are being held up across the border by more and more red tape.”

Trade between the UK and the EU has suffered some backlog because of the swathe of additional documentation now required to import and export goods between the UK and the EU.

Brussels has remained adamant Brexit would not have to impact the integrity and security of the single market throughout the negotiations on future trade agreements with Britain, and several new rules have been introduced since the deal was struck in December 2020.

It comes as Michael Gove insisted progress has been made with the European Union on the state of Northern Ireland but said the issue remained “far from resolved” ahead of a crunch meeting with Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefovi.

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On January 29, the EU sparked outrage from the UK and Ireland after it announced it was triggering Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol following fears of a shortage of coronavirus vaccine supplies.

The move, which effectively would have seen a hard border introduced between Northern Ireland and the Republic, was reversed just hours after it was announced.

The triggering of the emergency procedure just 29 days after the protocol came into place was seen as a low point in relations between the UK and EU.

Despite the frictions over the past five weeks, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said he was confident the Government and Brussels would overcome their differences in the months ahead.

Mr Gove will meet European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic in London on Thursday to discuss the problems faced in Northern Ireland as a result of the new trading arrangements.

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