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Calais bans ‘disrespectful’ Grayling over Brexit ports plan

The head of the port of Calais has accused the UK Transport Secretary of showing ‘disrespect’ by planning to divert cross-Channel sea traffic in a Brexit scenario under World Trade Organisation terms

Calais has spent the money for traffic to flow regularly under a WTO terms Brexit and so is mystified at the suggestion traffic would have to be diverted

THE head of the Port of Calais has said Britain’s Transport Secretary Chris Grayling is no longer welcome because of UK plans to divert some sea traffic in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Jean-Marc Puissesseau said in an interview that Mr Grayling had behaved in a “completely disrespectful” manner.

“Mr Grayling came to us in November and asked us if we would be ready,” Mr Puissesseau told the Telegraph. “We told him ‘yes’, though we did not know as much as we know today. He did not tell us that he wanted to reduce the activity’’ at Calais.

Mr Puissesseau added: “It is not fair at all, it is completely disrespectful. I don’t want to see him again.”

The French port leader made similar charges last month in connection with the UK government’s decision to fund a ferry service between Ramsgate and Ostend to cope with potential delays.

Mr Grayling’s department has awarded contracts to three firms as it seeks to bypass congestion it has claimed will mount up in Calais as a result of extra customs checks needed in the event of a Brexit on World Trade Organisation terms.

One of the contracts has been awarded to a company with no ships.

“We didn’t ask for Brexit, but we have spent the money for traffic to flow regularly,” Mr Puissesseau told the newspaper.

Speaking at a UK Chamber of Shipping event this week, Mr Grayling said the government was working to leave the European Union on March 29 with a deal and on good terms.

The Department for Transport did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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