Brexit minister insists government will prioritise making Kent’s ports ready for leaving the EU
PUBLISHED: 13:12 24 July 2017
Steve Baker met with MPs including Charlie Elphicke last week
Ensuring Kent’s ports are ready for leaving the European Union is “a clear priority for the government”, a Brexit minister has said.
Steve Baker met with a number of MPs last week, including Dover and Deal’s Charlie Elphicke, to raise concerns over preparations for Brexit and discuss potential solutions.
The MPs, including members of the European Research Group (ERG), stressed the importance of protecting port-related jobs and preventing long queues of lorries, after some figures have claimed Operation Stack could become a regular sight if Dover isn’t ready for leaving the EU.
Most recently, Amyas Morse, comptroller general of the National Audit Office, raised concerns over the Government’s post-Brexit IT system to record declarations on imports and exports.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Elphicke said: “As we prepare to leave the European Union we need to make sure that we are in the best position possible to succeed and prosper in the world. A vital part of these preparations must be ensuring that our ports are ready on day one.
“We all agree that is vital that Brexit is a success at our ports up and down the land – particularly at the Dover frontline.
“Of course, we hope that a trade deal will be done with the EU that will enable tariff-free trade to continue. Yet if on day one no trade deal has been agreed, we must be fully prepared.
“Gridlock at out ports will mean gridlock for the UK economy. Yet with proper planning we can not only be ready on day one – we can make Brexit a real success.
“Together we can build a new Britain that is a great, global trading nation.”
Mr Baker added: “The preparedness of our borders for success on day one of exit under all scenarios is a clear priority for the government.
“Colleagues representing ports are doing a fine job of representing their constituents concerns together with potential solutions.
“We will consider these alongside our current, well-developed plans.”