Former Brexit minister Suella Braverman insists Portsmouth port will work ‘just as effectively’ after Britain leaves European Union
FORMER Brexit minister Suella Braverman has insisted the city’s port will function ‘just as effectively’ after Britain leaves the European Union.
It comes as the Fareham MP, who was first invited to visit the port in April last year, met director Mike Sellers and Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson late last month.
Mrs Braverman was shown how goods are processed and loaded on and off ships.
Hampshire’s local resilience forum has drawn up contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit, including preparing land and a triage system near the port at Tipner West.
Planners fear any delay at the border would lead to the backing-up of lorries on the M275 – rapidly spreading to the M27 within minutes.
But Mrs Braverman insisted transport secretary has reassured Hampshire MPs and government had provided some funding to the council-owned port to help prepare.
In a statement she said: ‘I’m very confident that the port will work just as effectively after Brexit as it does now and that goods will flow freely in and out of the city.
‘Leaving the EU and pursuing greater free trade around the globe will bring huge opportunities for Portsmouth International Port and I look forward to seeing it go from strength to strength in the coming years.’
A deal could mean Britain remains in the single market and customs union until the end of 2020 ensuring smooth trade, she added.
Mrs Braverman was among 120 Conservative MPs who voted against prime minister Theresa May’s doomed deal in January. Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan also voted against the deal.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service chief fire officer Neil Odin, from the resilience forum, said emergency plans had been invoked with the EU exit due on March 29.
He said: ‘Within Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, the planning has focused on disruption at the roll-on roll-off port at Portsmouth and the resulting impact any delay would have on the surrounding road network and beyond, on communities attempting to navigate their way around the city, the close proximity of the naval base and the reliance of the Channel Islands on the port for supplies.
‘Due to the length of time required to ensure these measures are up and running in the event of exiting the EU without a withdrawal agreement on March 29, and with that option still a possibility, our partners have had to invoke emergency plans to make this happen within the required timescale.
Councillor Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We needed to start construction work quickly to ensure the area is ready by the end of March. We are talking to local stakeholders to ensure construction work doesn't impact businesses operating in the area.’