Jacob Rees-Mogg admits he was wrong to claim Brexit wouldn’t cause Dover queues
Mr Rees-Mogg, the Brexit opportunities minister, said he was wrong to claim there would be no delays in Kent, but suggested Brits should holiday in Portugal instead while lashing out at French authorities
Jacob Rees-Mogg says he ‘got it wrong’ on delays at Dover
Tory heavyweight Jacob Rees-Mogg this morning admitted he was wrong to claim there would be no delays at Dover as a result of Brexit.
Mr Rees-Mogg, the Brexit opportunity minister and one of the most prominent voices of the Leave campaign, previously claimed that any queues when crossing the Channel would be witnessed in Calais
But after days of nightmare queues of up to six hours in Kent, he has finally conceded he was incorrect.
He continued to lay the blame with French authorities, accusing them of “being difficult”, and suggesting holidaymakers might prefer to go to Portugal instead.
Mr Rees-Mogg blamed Paris for the “French-created delays” as he was played a clip from 2018 where he was clear that “the delays will not be at Dover they will be at Calais”.
Asked if he would apologise during the appearance on LBC radio, Mr Rees-Mogg said: “Yes, of course, I got it wrong but I got it wrong for the right reason, if I may put it that way.
“The point I was making was that the only delays would be caused by the French if they decided not to allow British people to pass through freely, they have decided to do that.”
He blamed “juxtaposed border controls” for the delays, meaning the French check travellers in Dover, while the British do the same in Calais.
“That means if the French don’t operate their system properly, we get the delays,” he said.
Mr Rees-Mogg suggested Britons might believe “going to Portugal is more fun because the Portuguese want us to go and the French are being difficult”.
AFP via Getty Images)
“Why should we go and spend our hard-earned money in France if the French don’t want us?” he asked – before insisting he was not calling for a boycott.
Extra post-Brexit border checks have been blamed for the recent hold ups, as have the understaffing of checkpoints in Dover by the French authorities.
Last month The Mirror reported that the Port of Dover had declared a “critical incident” due to huge traffic queues affecting Brits.
The seaport’s boss, Doug Bannister, said they have been “badly let down” by “woefully inadequate” and “insufficiently resourced” French border controls in Dover.
Travellers have been warned not to head to the Kent port on what is expected to be one of the busiest days on the roads in the UK as summer holidays start for millions of kids.
Delays at Dover are also causing tourist and freight traffic to be stuck on gridlocked roads in the area.
In a statement released today, the port said: “We are deeply frustrated that the resource at the French border overnight and early this morning has been woefully inadequate to meet our predicted demand and even more deeply regret the consequences that will now be felt by so many.”
Both Tory leadership candidates lashed out at France and the time, and denied that Brexit was to blame for the travel nightmare.
Mr Sunak vented: “The situation needs to be urgently addressed by the French.
“They need to stop blaming Brexit and start getting the staff required to match demand. It’s absolutely not acceptable to have families stranded in their vehicles like this.”
And Ms Truss said: “This awful situation should have been entirely avoidable and is unacceptable.
“We need action from France to build up capacity at the border to limit any further disruption for British tourists and to ensure this appalling situation is avoided in future.”