The hurried procurement process as the UK prepared to leave the EU on 29 March cost taxpayers £85m.Read more
Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald has responded to that news that Brexit ferry contracts have been cancelled.
“Chris Grayling and the ferry contracts will evermore be a case study in ministerial incompetence.
“The Transport Secretary’s approach to procurement and planning has cost taxpayers tens, if not, hundreds of millions of pounds. His career as a minister has left a trail of scorched earth and billions of pounds of public money wasted.
“This country cannot afford Chris Grayling.”
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Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has not ruled out that the government might need to negotiate another set of ferry contracts if a no deal Brexit situation arises in the autumn.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Grayling defended the current contracts, which are now being cancelled.
He said it was a small part the government’s “insurance package that the government put in place in case of a no deal”.
“People would expect a responsible govt to take out an insurance policy. We never wanted it but needed to be ready for it.”
But asked if the government might need to negotiate new contracts in October if a no deal Brexit situation was looking like an outcome, he said the government would need to “collectively” decide “what preparations will we need to put in place if find ourselves back in no deal situation, I hope we won’t be in that situation.”
Chris Grayling’s department has already been forced to pay £33m to Eurotunnel, to settle a case which challenged the procurement process for the ferry contracts.
The DfT is now also facing legal action from P&O Ferries, which claims its rival Eurotunnel was given a competitive advantage by the government.
The Department for Transport will terminate its remaining no-deal Brexit ferry contracts with operators Brittany Ferries and DFDS.
The cancellations could cost the taxpayer tens of millions of pounds, despite the fact that some of the £89m worth of procured capacity will be sold back to the market.
If extra cross-channel freight services are needed again in the run-up to the new Brexit deadline in October, the govt will likely have to negotiate a new set of contracts.
In February, the National Audit Office estimated that the cancellation costs of all three ferry contracts would be £56.6m.
The move comes just months after the DfT was forced to axe its £13.8m contract with athird company, Seaborne Freight, which the BBC found had never sailed a vessel.
Eurotunnel has responded to the out-of-court settlement it agreed today with the government awarding contracts for extra ferry services in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The settlement will "ensure that the Channel Tunnel remains the preferred route for vital goods to travel between the EU and the UK," Eurotunnel said.
"The agreement enables the development of infrastructure, security and border measures that will guarantee the flow of vehicles carrying urgent and vital goods and that will keep supply chains essential to both industry and consumers moving”.
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