From the Portsmouth News:
A CABINET member has slated city port campaigners for stirring up ‘hysteria’ with what she calls their talk of a no-deal Brexit ‘Armageddon’. Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, lashed out at council leaders from across Hampshire who are convinced if Britain leaves Europe without a deal it will cause traffic carnage across the county’s motorways.
The campaigners, who represent heads of authorities in Portsmouth, Hampshire, Southampton and the Isle of Wight, are worried a no-deal Brexit would cause delays in customs checks at Portsmouth International Port – and other ferry terminals – to spiral. And they say that to dodge security at major ports like Dover, Portsmouth could see an extra 500 lorries a day coming to the port – which would end up queuing on the M275 and M27 because of the extra security. However, the international development secretary rubbished the claims after she, and seven of her fellow Tory MPs from across the area, met the ‘MPs are in regular touch with ministers on this and it is vital that our local businesses are given accurate information and expectations. ‘Talk of Armageddon by groups and individuals looking to stop Brexit is reckless. UK and EU citizens, businesses and public services need the facts and support, not hysteria and politicking.’
Port campaigners – which included Portsmouth City Council leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson and Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP – have previously said lorries would have to be stacked along a 20-mile stretch of the M3 as there is currently no space for them to wait in the city. However, Mr Grayling confirmed to MPs – which included Suella Braverman, Alan Mak, Caroline Dinenage and George Hollingbery – that would never happen.
Ms Dinenage, Gosport MP, was ‘reassured’ by Mr Grayling, who said the Department for Transport was looking ‘very carefully’ at Portsmouth’s port and that ‘very few additional ferry movements’ in the city were projected. She said: ‘I was pleased to be reassured that there are no plans to shut any roads and that predictions that the M3 might be affected are wholly inaccurate.