All at sea: Raab's ignorance of Dover-Calais stuns critics

Brexit secretary ‘hadn’t quite understood the full extent’ to which UK was reliant on the strait

Opposition parties and pro-remain groups have criticised the Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, after he admitted that until recently he did not fully appreciate the importance of the Dover-Calais crossing for UK trade.

Speaking at an event on Brexit and the tech industry, Raab said that consumers would lose out if new rules create delays at the border.

In comments reported by the Politico website, he said: “I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing.

“And that is one of the reasons why we have wanted to make sure we have a specific and very proximate relationship with the EU, to ensure frictionless trade at the border … I don’t think it is a question so much of the risk of major shortages, but I think probably the average consumer might not be aware of the full extent to which the choice of goods that we have in the stores are dependent on one or two very specific trade routes.”

Politicians and campaigners, including the scientist and broadcaster Brian Cox, reacted to his words with surprise and alarm.

How could it possibly come as a suprise to Dominic Raab that our most important trade gateway is that which is closest geographically to our most important market?

— Brian Cox (@ProfBrianCox) November 8, 2018

Jenny Chapman, the shadow Brexit minister, said: “How are we meant to trust this government to deliver a good deal for the country when we have a Brexit secretary who doesn’t even understand the very basics of Brexit?”

Labour MP Jo Stevens of Best for Britain, an anti-Brexit group, said: “We finally have an admission of what we’ve known all along – that the Brexiteers hadn’t really thought through any of the impacts of leaving the EU. These comments are shocking.”

Thought the #Brexit incompetency levels couldn’t get worse? Watch this ⬇️ We really need @peoplesvote_uk

— Jo Stevens (@JoStevensLabour) November 8, 2018


Andrew Sparrow

The GuardianTramp

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