Fears raised that port delays after Brexit could gridlock Portsmouth
AN MP has raised fears that Brexit could lead to hours of gridlock in Portsmouth city centre due to delays to lorries coming through the port.
Portsmouth South MP and councillor Stephen Morgan says he is concerned that two-minute hold-ups to each vehicle could amount to six or seven hours of delay every day with a knock-on effect on nearby roads.
Mr Morgan said: ‘The Tories have shown little to no interest in Portsmouth when it comes to our exit from the EU. Brexit is less than a year away and they have no plan.
‘We’re home to the second largest cross-channel port in the UK, but ministers refuse to visit to discuss increasingly urgent concerns about the lack of answers on how they’ll achieve the frictionless trade we depend on.
‘As MP, I won’t have our city ignored and I’ll keep fighting for us to stay in a customs union that will protect jobs and provide practical solutions to what are very real problems.
‘This isn’t about party politics or Brexit ideology, it’s about practical issues that will harm our city if not addressed. Blue passports won’t be much comfort to my constituents when they’re stuck in hours-long tailbacks.’
Council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson agreed.
He said: ‘The situation of the port is very worrying, Stephen is right to be worried. We may have vehicles queuing through the harbour and then queuing up the motorway.’
However, he added: ‘But Stephen abstained from voting as to whether to stay in the European Economic Area.
‘If he’s worried about the effect of Brexit on the port, the first thing he should have done is voted to remain.’
Mr Morgan’s office confirmed that the Labour MP abstained to vote on June 13 as it did not look likely the vote on the European Economic Area would gain enough support to pass.
But he did defy Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to vote in favour of the UK remaining in the customs union which would, if enacted, ensure free trading between countries within the EU and a few outside of it.
Tory boss Cllr Donna Jones was confident the port would not suffer as a result of Brexit.
She said: ‘From March 29 next year we will make sure we have a fully operational border force there working in an airport immigration-style that is able to keep passengers and lorries moving through.
‘I am optimistic about Britain’s future out of the EU.’