Parliament must be recalled to question the government’s handling of crises at UK ports

With 10 days to go to the end of the transition period and supply chains from Europe to the UK now suspended for the next two days, James MacCleary, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson, calls for a recall of Parliament.

“Boris Johnson’s announcement of the new Coronavirus strain and putting London and most of the south east into Tier 4 has triggered the closure of international borders with the UK.

This is of very serious concern to people and businesses as we approach the Christmas holidays,” said Parliamentary spokesperson, James MacCleary. “What is unacceptable is that the government not only gave very little notice to UK citizens, causing chaotic scenes of a mass exodus from London, but Ministers seem to have failed to consult neighbouring governments.

“The lack of forethought and understanding of how interlinked our supply chains are and a continuing tone-deaf approach to international relations have triggered a potential crisis for the UK. Parliament must be recalled to debate the issue and question Ministers over their handling of the UK’s international trade and logistics.

“Newhaven needs a strong voice in Parliament now more than ever. Instead it has no voice at all as Maria Caulfield says barely a word in the Commons in order to protect her junior government job as a whip. Given that things may be worse when we leave the transition period, we need reassurance that the Government has put in place contingency plans and that Newhaven will be protected.”

Tony Parker, former Director of Infrastructure at Shoreham Port adds: “The UK has sufficient food and storage that a 2-day gap in traffic across the channel will not affect availability of food supplies or cause widespread food shortages. If it goes on for more than 2 days, we will see shortages in supplies of fresh food and salad.

“There should be no need for panic buying but it is understandable people are concerned, especially as the Christmas holidays approach. This is unfortunately just a foretaste of what we may experience if we leave the transition period without a deal.

As a professional with decades of experience in ports, it’s been clear for months that any deal that involved leaving the single market and customs union was going to result in delays, confusion and supply chain disruption. Local networks  such as the Sussex Resilience Forum have made the best plans they could under the circumstances, but we need the Government to step up.”