Labour MEPs: Monkeygate scandal shows we need tougher standards and sanctions, not Brexit deregulation

Emissions testing on monkeys and humans, the latest sorry episode in the vehicle emissions scandal, highlights the need for even tougher standards in the automotive industry and sanctions against offenders – and not Brexit-induced deregulation, Labour MEPs warned.

In the tests, monkeys were forced to breathe diesel exhaust fumes from a VW Beetle for several hours in an attempt to prove they were not toxic in a study funded by VW, BMW and Daimler, with additional emissions tests on humans.

Last night, industry commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska told the European Parliament “there was no EU law that justifies such behaviour”, adding it was the second time the car sector had showed that it is “completely untrustworthy”.

Seb Dance MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on environment, said:

“Monkeygate and dieselgate are what happens when companies feel they are above the law and can act with impunity and to Hell with the consequences – this is what we get if standards are not strong enough, sanctions are not enforced and deregulation wins out.

“Commissioner Bieńkowska is of course right that Volkswagen’s practices are illegal, their conduct horrific, but what we need are more than just words. After the initial reports two years ago that car manufacturers were falsifying data, the EU failed to act quickly or strongly enough – unlike in the US, consumers are still awaiting compensation, and the latest revelations show that mere threats of punishment clearly haven’t worked.

“In the UK, however, the desire of hardline Brexiters for a ‘bonfire of regulations’, curtailing of rights and lowering of standards could mean that outside the EU companies will feel even less constrained and more at liberty to do as they please.”