Hull MP Diana Johnson confronts Philip Hammond over no-deal Brexit planning for UK ports

Ports on the Humber run by Associated British Ports handle more than 65 million tonnes of cargo every year. Picture by Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty Images.
Ports on the Humber run by Associated British Ports handle more than 65 million tonnes of cargo every year. Picture by Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty Images.
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Hull North MP Diana Johnson has confronted the Chancellor over the government’s emergency plans for UK ports under a no-deal Brexit.

Diana Johnson demanded to know if Philip Hammond had been working with the Department of Transport on how areas with ports would be affected if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement on the planned exit date of March 29.

Hull North MP Diana Johnson

Hull North MP Diana Johnson

In a Commons exchange, she asked: “What discussions has the Chancellor had with the Transport Secretary about the economic impact of a no deal on cities that have regional ports?”

Ms Johnson has consistently raised the issue with ministers particularly in relation to key trading posts along the Humber estuary, including the ports at Hull, Immingham and Grimsby, which manage 40 per cent more freight from the European Union than Dover.

But despite the extra pressure a no-deal Brexit could inflict on the area, the Department for Transport recently admitted it had not modelled potential traffic jams which could result from extra border checks.

Responding to Ms Johnson’s question, the Chancellor said: “We have a cross-Whitehall committee which regularly discusses impacts of a no-deal exit and makes preparations for them and the issues that she is raising have been and will continue to be raised in that forum.”

With the Brexit date approaching, Ms Johnson and Hull’s two other Labour MPs - Karl Turner and Emma Hardy - have been urgently seeking a meeting with Mr Grayling.

Earlier this week, Ms Johnson said: “Whatever anyone thinks about Brexit and leaving the EU without a deal, it’s vital that adequate preparations are made to enable the Humber Ports and our roads infrastructure to cope with any such eventuality.

“The consequences of failing to prepare, especially in terms of potential traffic congestion, would damage our regional and national economy. It would be grossly irresponsible.”