City MP: Portsmouth cannot afford Government to continue ignoring Port on Brexit

Brexit ministers continue to reject requests to visit Portsmouth Port with key questions on customs still unanswered

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, who today visited Portsmouth International Port, has said his city faces a collapse in trade and disastrous traffic congestion if the Government doesn’t urgently answer key questions on post-Brexit customs arrangements.

The city’s Port, like many others across the country, has been left shrouded in uncertainty with less than a year to go until Brexit.

Portsmouth International Port is the second largest cross-channel port in the UK with over 2 million passengers and over 250,000 freight movements each year. However, experts have expressed concern that Dover and Southampton have dominated Government attention to date.

The Government have yet to submit a workable proposal for frictionless trade and have ruled out remaining in the single market, customs union, or European Economic Area.

It is estimated that a 2 minute delay per lorry at Portsmouth International Port could result in 6-7 hours of delays each day and miles of queues in and around the city.

This week, Stephen asked a written parliamentary question to the Department for Exiting the EU requesting the Secretary of State or his ministers answer the Port’s request for a visit so they can share concerns. In reply, the Department rejected the request, stating that ‘Ministers have met with representatives from a range of UK ports and will continue to engage ports throughout this process’.

Speaking after his own follow-up visit to the Port to discuss Brexit concerns, Stephen Morgan MP, said:

“The Government has shown little to no interest in Portsmouth when it comes to our exit from the EU. Brexit is less than a year away and they have no plan.

We’re home to the second largest cross channel port in the UK, but Ministers refuse to visit to discuss increasingly urgent concerns about the lack of answers on how they’ll achieve the frictionless trade we depend on. As MP, I won’t have our city ignored and I’ll keep fighting for us to stay in a customs union that will protect jobs and provide practical solutions to what are very real problems.

The Tories’ failure to listen to Portsmouth risks having real consequences for our city. Lack of investment from Government means our aging infrastructure simply cannot support the volume of congestion that would be caused by checks at the border.

This isn’t about party politics or Brexit ideology, it’s about practical issues that will harm our city if not addressed. Blue passports won’t be much comfort to my constituents when they’re stuck in hours-long tailbacks.”

Stephen will continue to work closely with the International Port and other key stakeholders to help find a solution that works for Portsmouth.