Following participation at an important Local Resilience Forum briefing at Portsmouth International Port for the region’s MPs and council leaders, Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said:
“It is vital that work is undertaken to understand the impact of Brexit in our city and prepare Portsmouth and the region for all eventualities. This is something I have been urging Government and local agencies to do for some time, so today’s forum was long overdue.
As my work on the Public Accounts Committee has identified, the Department for Transport is not ready in the event of the UK departing the EU without a negotiated deal, and this risk is increasing as time runs out to deliver what is needed.
There is a real prospect of major disruption at ports, including at Portsmouth.
We heard today of real risks with capacity, gridlock and delays in the region under a no-deal. Our city exports 95% of the fresh produce in the Channel Islands. A delay in our city would mean empty shelves in Jersey and Guernsey within 48 hours.
Nationally the Government are saying there’s no risk with our port, whilst locally agencies are saying there is. I know who I believe. When calls have been made to the Department of Transport for clarity, no formal response has been received.
The slow progress and poor communication from Government around work to avoid this continues to be a huge concern to me. I will be taking back concerns to Ministers again when Parliament returns next week”.
On the forum today and the way ahead Mr Morgan said:
“I’m deeply disappointed no other MP from our region or any Government Minister attended this important briefing today. They must engage now and hear our local concerns as I have been.
Putting plans in place for the International Port and any necessary stacking of delayed lorries in the region is essential, otherwise we can expect chaos.
We must now all work together on this to secure resources and agree a plan. Cross-party action in our city is essential as Leader of the Council has been too slow to act to date.
It crucial to do so as an ill-prepared Government and city council will only mean Portsmouth people will suffer”.
Speaking ahead of the meaningful vote in Parliament expected this month, the MP added:
“Labour has been clear from the beginning that we must ensure jobs and our economy are protected, and standards and protections guaranteed.
A no-deal Brexit would be a disaster for jobs in Portsmouth, the nation’s economy and the border in Northern Ireland. It is simply not a viable option. It is testament to the Prime Minister’s failure that this is even being discussed.
That is why I will work with colleagues across all parties and all in Parliament to block a no-deal as soon as the Government’s half-baked Brexit deal is voted down”.