Brexit blamed for delays as British truckers and travelers face gridlock at Dover

Tourists and heavy goods vehicles were stuck in traffic jams en route to the port of Kent in southern England on Saturday, with the port admitting that “today is going to be very busy” and travelers being warned of four hours of wait.

The UK and France are stuck in a round of accusations over the cause of the standoff, with British lawmakers blaming staff on the French side and French officials agreeing to increased post-Brexit customs checks.

“The Brits are right to complain because there are traffic jams. But it’s not the French’s fault, it’s Brexit’s fault,” French lawmaker from Calais Pierre-Henri Dumont told French public radio France Info.

“The reality is that these are the first holidays after Brexit. After the UK’s final exit from the European Union and without travel restrictions due to the Covid pandemic… entry into the European Union and so it takes time,” he said. .

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The French MP also blamed the size of the port of Dover, which he said was “three times smaller than the port of Calais”.

Port of Dover chief executive Doug Bannister accepted that Brexit resulted in delays, telling LBC on Saturday that his team was “recognizing that we are in a post-Brexit environment, which means transaction times through borders will take longer”.

But British lawmakers insisted that the lack of personnel in Calais obstructed the route through the English Channel.

Liz Truss, Britain’s foreign secretary and favorite to win a two-person race to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister, said “this dire situation should have been entirely preventable and is unacceptable”.

“We need action by France to increase capacity at the border to limit any further disruption to British tourists and ensure that this dire situation is avoided in the future. We will work with the French authorities to find a solution,” Truss said in a statement. Friday statement.

Brexit forced extra passports and security checks for British travelers entering the EU.

Dumont said all the stands given by the British authorities in Dover to the French police in Dover were full, although acknowledging a slight delay in the early hours of Friday due to “a technical failure”.

He denied allegations made in the British press of “an intentional desire to punish the British”, adding that there are “many French families who live by crossing the Channel. Sailors, men and women who are on land”.

P&O Ferries told passengers to wait up to four hours to pass security checks in Dover on Saturday morning.

Relations between the UK and France have become increasingly strained since the UK left the European Union, with leaders of both countries embroiled in rows over travel and over migrant boats crossing the channel.

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