11 DEC 2017

Urging the PM to make Dover a Brexit trade talks priority

The smooth flow of traffic through the Port of Dover must be a key priority of Brexit trade talks, I told the Prime Minister. Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday (December 11th), I asked Theresa May whether she agreed that the Channel Ports are a "critical issue".

The Prime Minister said the Government recognises the importance of Dover. She said a key part of a trade deal with the European Union will be working towards "tariff free and frictionless" movement of goods through the port.

I asked: "Would the Prime Minister agree that the finding of agreed solutions is not just a critical issue to the Northern Ireland border but also the Channel Ports including the Port of Dover and will she make it a key priority of the trade talks to ensure that we have the smooth flow of trade and also the option of diversity?"

The Prime Minister replied: "My honourable friend is absolutely right, we recognise the importance of Dover as a border port and indeed other ports around the United Kingdom and as we move forward in negotiating the trade deal of course a key part of that will be the future customs relationship that we have. We've said we want to be as tariff free and frictionless as possible and that's what we'll be working to."

My question followed a statement in the Commons by Theresa May on the progress of negotiations with the EU. I have repeatedly called on the Government to invest at the border since the EU referendum result. He has raised the issue with the Prime Minister in the Commons several times and met Ministers from the Treasury and Home Office at the port.

In last month's Budget, Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced he is setting aside £3 billion for Brexit preparations.

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Charlie Elphicke

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