Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan has slammed the Transport Secretary for “not listening to Portsmouth” following concerns being raised over the city’s preparedness for a no-deal Brexit in Parliament.
Last week Mr Morgan was the only MP from the region to attend a high-powered summit of council leaders, chief executives, police to discuss plans for the Portsmouth International Port and south coast’s transport infrastructure if Britain leaves the EU without a deal. 19 MPs were invited yet only Mr Morgan attended and participated.
Since his election the city MP has been calling on Ministers to visit the city to discuss with Port officials the implications of Brexit on trade and capacity at the port, and the impact of leaving the EU on Portsmouth’s jobs and economy.
Today in the House of Commons the MP used a statement by the Transport Chris Grayling on the botched award of a contract to Seaborne Freight, a company with no ships, as one if the providers in the event of a no-deal Brexit, to raise concerns over no-deal preparedness following the meeting in Portsmouth at the port last week.
Mr Morgan said:
“95% of the fresh produce in the Channel Islands comes via Portsmouth International Port. Any delay exporting to Guernsey and Jersey under a no-deal would cause traffic chaos here, and empty shelves within 48 hours over there.
Today I raised these concerns with the Transport Secretary directly. Rather than reassure the people of Portsmouth that plans are in place to manage this risk under a no-deal, instead Mr Grayling ignored the question and irrelevantly talked about imports.
At a time of uncertainty for our city and country the Transport Secretary just doesn’t get it. It’s time the Government engages with us in Portsmouth and listens to our legitimate concerns.
I will be following up this matter again with Ministers. Our city needs certainty not incompetence from this Government.”
The action in the House came before a vote to the Finance Bill with an amendment from Yvette Cooper MP to limit the governments financial powers in the event of a no-deal.
Voting in support of the amendment, Mr Morgan said:
“This vote tonight was an important step to prevent a no-deal Brexit. Its success shows that there is no majority in Parliament, the Cabinet or the country for crashing out of the EU without an agreement.
We know that a no-deal would be a disaster for Portsmouth. I will continue to work with others in Parliament to prevent it.
For the sake of our city and nation’s future, the Government must now rule out no-deal“.