‘Go-slow’ at Calais ‘would hit Ireland hardest’

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‘Go-slow’ at Calais ‘would hit Ireland hardest’


Britain's Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab. Photo: Peter Nicholls/PA Wire
Britain’s Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab. Photo: Peter Nicholls/PA Wire

France could deliberately adopt a “go-slow” approach at Calais if there is no Brexit deal, Dominic Raab has claimed.

The UK Brexit secretary also said he was confident the authorities in Ireland were “well aware” of the implications of no deal after Tory MP Philip Hollobone warned that Dublin would be hardest hit in trade terms if the French “start mucking about” with Calais.

Mr Raab warned MPs on all sides against seeking to “wreck” any deal secured by Prime Minister Theresa May during a punchy Brexit questions session, which also saw Labour label the no-deal preparations as “bluff” and the government accused of “Mussolini politics” by Labour backbencher Barry Sheerman.

Speaking in the Commons, the SNP’s Peter Grant highlighted National Audit Office warnings over no-deal Brexit preparations and told Mr Raab: “That’s on top of the 80,000 Scottish jobs and £2,300 (€2,594) out the pockets of every Scottish household and 9pc hit to our economy that no-deal Brexit is likely to bring.

“Is the secretary of state seriously telling us that it’s possible for him and the prime minister to bring back a bad deal that is worse than that?”

Mr Raab replied: “He’s right to point to the risks of no deal but the point is to have the planning and preparations in place to make sure we can avoid or mitigate those risks.

“We also need to prepare for the worst-case scenario where the authorities at Calais are deliberately directing a go-slow approach by supporting a diversion of the flow to more amenable ports in other countries.”

Brexit-backing Mr Hollobone asked: “Has he made the Republic of Ireland aware that if the French start mucking about with Calais and a go-slow in the event of a no deal, the biggest impact would not be on UK trade, it will be on trade with the Republic of Ireland that passes through this country?”

Mr Raab replied: “I’m confident the authorities in Dublin are well aware of the implications of no deal.”

Irish Independent

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