27 APR 2017

My five-point plan for Brexit will ensure order at our border

In less than two years we will be leaving the European Union. It is vital that we are ready on day one for every eventuality – particularly at the Dover and Deal frontline.

People opposed to Brexit talk up fears of chaos when we leave the EU. They speak of disaster at the border with queues of lorries all the way back to Essex. Let's prove the Remoaners wrong by being ready on day one to make a real success of Brexit. By taking action now to invest in upgrading the border and the roads to the Dover and Deal frontline we can be ready.

Dover is the gateway and the guardian of the nation. The port handles £120 billion of imports and exports every year. More than 10,000 freight vehicles pass through the docks each day.

Disruption at Dover is felt right across the country. Gridlock at Dover will gridlock the UK economy too. We've seen in recent years how finely balanced the infrastructure is and how problems can swiftly spiral. Tailbacks in 2015 caused by Calais strikes were estimated to cost Britain's economy £1 billion. In 2016, a lack of French border police at Dover caused huge tailbacks on the roads to the port.

That's why I've worked with the ports, shipping and haulage industries to develop a detailed five-point plan to ensure order at our border.

Resilient roads to Dover and Deal. The dualling of the A2 all the way to Dover, recklessly axed by the last Labour government, must now be carried out. The planned M20 lorry park must be delivered on time.Britain open for business with systems ready on day one to ensure that customs controls are handled seamlessly and long queues avoided.A New Entente Cordiale to extend the Le Touquet Treaty to cover customs co-operation and ensure we work closer than ever with France.A Brexit Infrastructure Bill. It takes years to build the simplest road. Yet we have less than two years to get ready. A powerful new law to speed through administrative processes would enable vital projects to be delivered on time.One Government at the border to ensure order. There is a mind boggling array of ministries, quangos and agencies with border responsibilities. There should be a single ministry where the buck stops – not a pea soup of bureaucracy.

I'm incredibly grateful to the businesses and industry leaders who joined me to develop this detailed plan for meeting the Brexit borders challenge. By taking action now we can make a real success of Brexit for Britain.

Let's move forward and get on with this vital work now. So we won't just be ready on day one – Dover and Deal will be more successful and stronger than ever before.

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Charlie Elphicke

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