Sunday, 5 Apr 2020

Davis issues dire warning of no deal Brexit border chaos as furious French ‘make a point’

David Davis warned France may instruct their border force at prominent ports like Calais to carry out lengthier checks on lorries to and from the UK in the event of a no deal Brexit. The former frontbencher suggested the French Government could seek to “make a point” should Britain leave the European Union without a formal arrangement by “slowing down” lorry traffic in and out the ports. Speaking to LBC, Mr Davis said: “There will be some bumps, there’s no doubt about that.

“For example, you may we’ll see – this is all speculative – the French try to make a point and slow down traffic for a while.

“They can’t for very long because that traffic will divert to Rotterdam, and Zeebrugge and Antwerp.”

The former Brexit Secretary however reiterated the British Government has been setting out contingency plans to avoid disruption at the border since the beginning of the negotiations.

Mr Davis continued: “The thing to remember here, and the same with arguments over Calais, is there’s already a huge amount of work already in place.

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“People forget for three years now, since the day I took over in 2016, the work has been going on on 300 different projects to mitigate or to make viable the position after departure.”

Mr Davis stepped down as Brexit Secretary in 2017 to protest his dissent to the Chequers proposals Theresa May put on the negotiating table. 

The Tory MP also dismissed concerns about the risk of conflict resuming in Northern Ireland in the event of a no deal Brexit.

He added: “One of the problems we’ve seen over the past couple of years is really scary language about things which virtually can all be managed – Northern Ireland is quite a good example.

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“All this stuff about restarting the Troubles, not if the Irish Government cooperates with HMRC and our customs operations to keep the process what’s already there – the arrangements on VAT, on other taxes and levies.”

Northern Ireland emerged as the most contentious issues in the negotiations with Brussels. While both sides have agreed they do not want a hard border to be re-established, plans for the inclusion of a backstop in the withdrawal agreement have been rejected by Brexiteers.

The backstop, effectively an insurance policy, was included in the draft divorce deal but Boris Johnson demanded the bloc agree to remove it due to concerns the clause could be used to keep Britain closely aligned to the single market and the customs union.

The Prime Minister on Wednesday sought permission from the Queen to suspend Parliament from September 9 until the middle of October to draft the Government’s latest legislative plans.


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The decision effectively shortens the time available to MPs opposed to no deal Brexit to table new legislation aimed at preventing Britain leaving the EU without a deal, or to challenge Mr Johnson to a vote of no confidence in his leadership.

Responding to the decision, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier issued the Prime Minister a fresh threat in which he insisted EU interests come ahead of an agreement with the UK.

Mr Barnier tweeted: “Boris Johnson has said that the UK will leave the EU on 31 Oct. In all circumstances, the EU will continue to protect the interests of its citizens and companies, as well as the conditions for peace and stability on the island of Ireland. It is our duty & our responsibility.”

Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted that the move to prorogue Parliament is not intended to limit the time available for MPs to debate Brexit and will allow the Government to tackle other issues.

Mr Rees-Mogg said: “Parliament wasn’t going to be sitting for most of this time anyway.

“This is completely constitutional and proper. There is going to be a lot of time to debate before October 31.”

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