‘I don’t blame the French for Dover chaos, I blame the UK government’
Politicians are split on the impact of Brexit as our county was the focus of border chaos this weekend. Hundreds of people were forced to wait in long queues of up to 17 hours at the Port of Dover, which saw it declare a “critical incident”.
The port said it was “deeply frustrated” by the delays, blaming “lengthy French border processes and sheer volume”. Queues of vehicles could be seen on the A20 with one lane of the road remaining closed over the weekend due to Dover TAP, the temporary traffic management system which queues port-bound lorries in the left lane of the A20 after the Roundhill Tunnel to try to prevent the town becoming congested with traffic.
These mass delays had knock-on effects around the town as the road network ground to a halt. Extra sailings were ran overnight to try and clear the backlog but by Sunday morning the port estimated some travellers still faced delays of up to eight hours.
(Image: STUART BROCK/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
With the queues now cleared, we are left with politicians pointing fingers and arguing what caused the “critical incident”. Home Secretary Suella Braverman has rejected suggestions that Brexit caused the Easter getaway disaster. Ms Braverman told Sophy Ridge On Sunday on Sky News that it would not be fair to view the delays as “an adverse effect of Brexit”.
She said: “What I would say is at acute times when there is a lot of pressure crossing the Channel, whether that’s on the tunnel or ferries, then I think that there’s always going to be a back-up and I just urge everybody to be a bit patient while the ferry companies work their way through the backlog.”
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But other Tories have directly highlighted the impact of Brexit. Chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, Tobias Ellwood, pointed towards the end of “travel freedoms” taking to Twitter.
“Of course it’s connected to Brexit,” the MP for Bournemouth East, tweeted. “Our current Brexit model resulted in an end to travel freedoms. But as they weren’t replaced with new ones – processing takes longer – hence the delays. Hence we need a Brexit upgrade!”
Port officials have also come out to dismiss Ms Braverman’s comments. A spokesperson for the port told The Independent that the processing time for each passenger had increased since Britain left the EU and it played a factor in the disruption.
Some readers have already weighed in on the issue. KentLive reader grewupindover said: “That’s Brexit for you. While we’ve never been able to controller the weather, ferry companies were always able to cope with peak demand. It’s the new border controls that are the problem.”
Nosbor added: “Yet a further example of Brexit chaos. I don’t blame the French, I blame the UK government for not fully thinking through the ramifications of Brexit in particular leaving the single market.”
But others have put it down French customs and say it has always been an issue. “That’s French customs for you,” Mal1 said. “They have always been the same.” Ans Dealdespair added: “I went to France on Thursday, no queues at all , why wasn’t there Brexit “chaos“ then?”
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