Britain’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, has taken to Twitter to battle with Brussels over a plastic straw ban.

The environment secretary and European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, goaded each other on the social media platform.

As reported by The Guardian, Gove criticised plastic straws during interviews last week, but went on to suggest that his hope of enforcing a ban could run into obstacles because of EU legislation.

“There is some concern that EU laws mean that we can’t ban straws at moment, but I’m doing everything I can to ensure that we end this scourge and I hope to make an announcement shortly,” said Gove, who was a prominent supporter of Brexit during the referendum campaign.

Timmermans shot back: “.@michaelgove One step ahead of you. EU legislation on single-use plastics coming before the summer. Maybe you can align with us? #EUDoesntSuck #StrongerTogether #PlasticsStrategy”.

A few hours later, Gove belittled the EU’s claims. “There has been no specific proposal – as yet – from the EU to ban straws,” he tweeted. “The EU has promised ‘analytical work’ on the ‘scope of a legislative initiative’ to ‘reduce’ single use plastics. Also waiting for the EU to catch up on microbeads – UK’s ban is 1st in Europe #greenbrexit”.

A commission spokesman declined to respond to Gove’s tweet, suggesting the EU’s “point has been made”.

Every year, Europeans generate 25m tonnes of plastic waste, but less than 30% is collected for recycling.