COMMENT: Yes minister, this is part of what you owe the city

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We would have loved to have seen the minister’s face as the wind was taken out of his sails during a visit to Portsmouth International Port. His task was to reiterate the prime minister’s optimistic message that everything that could be done was being done to prepare Britain, and her ports in particular, for whichever Brexit scenario unfolds this halloween. Mr Vernon-Jackson believes the government owes Portsmouth the money for cash it has already spent on preparations for no-deal, including the creation of a temporary lorry park off the M275 to ease pressure on local roads if freight traffic faces delays. Of course, the Lib-Dem politician, whose party line is Remain, was happy to make mischief at the expense of the Conservative government’s transport figurehead. Back in August when the Department for Transport announced emergency planners in Hampshire would be allocated £1.25m to help minimise disruption, Portsmouth City Council said the amount accounted for little more than the £1m it had already spent. Mr Vernon-Jackson said at the time that the government’s contribution was ‘a drop in the ocean’ which would explain his enthusiasm at making a point to Mr Shapps yesterday. Mr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘I’ve given him a bill for all the money we think they should be paying us.  ‘[It covers] £844,000 for work we’ve done building things, which they haven’t paid for, and £100,000-a-week from now on to get the staff in place to be able to have triage points on the motorway and make sure there isn’t a complete traffic nightmare if we have a no-deal.’  Whether the bill gets paid, or whether any further contribution is forthcoming from Whitehall is yet another unanswered question in the Brexit conundrum, but Mr Vernon-Jackson has made a good point well.

We would have loved to have seen the minister’s face as the wind was taken out of his sails during a visit to Portsmouth International Port.

His task was to reiterate the prime minister’s optimistic message that everything that could be done was being done to prepare Britain, and her ports in particular, for whichever Brexit scenario unfolds this halloween.

Mr Vernon-Jackson believes the government owes Portsmouth the money for cash it has already spent on preparations for no-deal, including the creation of a temporary lorry park off the M275 to ease pressure on local roads if freight traffic faces delays.

Of course, the Lib-Dem politician, whose party line is Remain, was happy to make mischief at the expense of the Conservative government’s transport figurehead.

Back in August when the Department for Transport announced emergency planners in Hampshire would be allocated £1.25m to help minimise disruption, Portsmouth City Council said the amount accounted for little more than the £1m it had already spent.

Mr Vernon-Jackson said at the time that the government’s contribution was ‘a drop in the ocean’ which would explain his enthusiasm at making a point to Mr Shapps yesterday.

Mr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘I’ve given him a bill for all the money we think they should be paying us. 

‘[It covers] £844,000 for work we’ve done building things, which they haven’t paid for, and £100,000-a-week from now on to get the staff in place to be able to have triage points on the motorway and make sure there isn’t a complete traffic nightmare if we have a no-deal.’ 

Whether the bill gets paid, or whether any further contribution is forthcoming from Whitehall is yet another unanswered question in the Brexit conundrum, but Mr Vernon-Jackson has made a good point well.