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Dover delays today latest: No 10 admits Brexit played role in chaos amid calls for crisis meeting

Port of Dover declares critical incident as high levels of traffic caused lengthy delays

No 10 has admitted that “new processes” brought in after Brexit has contributed to several days of travel chaos at the Port of Dover.

It comes as the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) called for “crisis talks” with the Rishi Sunak’s government, the Kent port and ferry companies to “resolve this mess once and for all”.

The coach operators’ body claimed their vehicles were “treated unfairly” after thousands of passengers were stranded in lengthy queues for up to 24 hours over the weekend.

Mr Sunak’s official spokesman said “a combination of factors” were to blame, including poor weather, the high volume of traffic and the new passport control processes.

Asked about the role of post-Brexit checks, the spokesman acknowledged that French officials are now required inspect and stamp every passport as passengers leave the UK.

“Obviously we recognise there are new processes in place,” Mr Sunak’s spokesman said on the manual checks.

Earlier Dover officials hit back at claims made by the home secretary that it was “not fair” to blame disruption at the port on Brexit.

A spokesperson for the port said that processing times for each passenger had increased since Britain left the EU and it was a factor behind the disruption.

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Watch: Cricketers stuck in 10-hour Dover queue play impromptu match to pass time

Cricketers stuck in 10-hour Dover queue play impromptu match to pass time

Martha Mchardy3 April 2023 20:00

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Simon Calder: Why Brexit is to blame for holiday traffic chaos at Dover

When it’s the start of the Easter holidays and you’re a transport hub and you’re trending on Twitter, you know things are not going well.

Thousands of coach passengers endured a miserable wait, many of them through the night. Factors as diverse as stormy weather and the French were blamed for preventing travellers from getting away on much-needed holidays.

Thousands of coach passengers endured a miserable wait, many of them through the night. Factors as diverse as stormy weather and the French were blamed for preventing travellers from getting away on much-needed holidays.

“Blame,” though, is the wrong term here. We got what we signed up after a democratic vote to leave the European Union and asking to become “third-country nationals” in the eyes of the EU.

Martha Mchardy3 April 2023 19:00

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Suella Braverman blames bad weather and Easter for Dover queues

Home Secretary Suella Braverman was accused of being in “complete denial” about Brexit after the home secretary claimed on Sunday it was unfair to say the huge hold-ups at Dover were “an adverse effect of Brexit”.

Despite recurring problems with gridlock in Kent in 2021 and 2022, the home secretary claimed checks were “operating very smoothly at the border” – blaming current woes on bad weather and it being “a very busy time of year”.

Martha Mchardy3 April 2023 18:00

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ICYMI: Queues cleared after weekend of Easter holiday travel chaos

Queues at the entrance to the Port of Dover have cleared after a weekend of disruption, according to one of the ferry companies hit by delays.

Coach passengers were forced to spend hours waiting to enter the port, be processed and board ferries over the weekend.

Matt Mathers3 April 2023 17:00

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No 10 admits Brexit played role in chaos amid calls for crisis meeting

No 10 has admitted that “new processes” brought in after Brexit has contributed to several days of travel chaos at the Port of Dover.

It comes as the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) called for “crisis talks” with the Rishi Sunak’s government, the Kent port and ferry companies to “resolve this mess once and for all”.

The coach operators’ body claimed their vehicles were “treated unfairly” after thousands of passengers were stranded in lengthy queues for up to 24 hours over the weekend.

Mr Sunak’s official spokesman said “a combination of factors” were to blame, including poor weather, the high volume of traffic and the new passport control processes.

Martha Mchardy3 April 2023 16:10

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ICYMI: Lack of government planning contributed to delays

A lack of planning by the government contributed to the large queues seen at the Port of Dover over the weekend, Labour has suggested.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said ministers should work more closely with France to avoid further delays in the future.

Pressed on how the opposition would act differently on cross-channel traffic, as it has suggested it would not to restore freedom of movement with the EU, Ms Cooper described the situation as “a total nightmare for people trying to travel this weekend”.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We can’t have this every time there is an Easter holiday, every time there is a summer holiday.

“It is particularly the lack of planning around coach parties and that really affects school children as well.”

Pressed for solutions, Ms Cooper added: “I would urge the Home Office, the transport department, to talk with Dover and also with their French counterparts to make sure that we don’t get a re-run of this.”

Matt Mathers3 April 2023 16:00

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Coach firms ‘treated unfairly’ during Dover disruption

Coach operators have claimed their vehicles were “treated unfairly” after thousands of passengers were stranded at the Port of Dover for up to 24 hours over the weekend.

Trade association the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) called for “crisis talks” with the government, the Kent port and ferry companies to “resolve this mess once and for all”.

Matt Mathers3 April 2023 15:18

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‘Combination of factors’ caused delays – No 10

A “combination of factors” led to delays at the Port of Dover over the weekend, No 10 has said.

Asked whether Brexit was one of the factors, the spokesman said the French were “inspecting and stamping every single passport”.

The spokesman added: “We recognise there are new processes in place – that’s why authorities were given a long time to prepare for the new checks, including during the transition period, of course.

“And we are in discussion with our French counterparts about how we can further improve the flow of traffic.”

Matt Mathers3 April 2023 14:30

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‘Something clearly wrong’ at Dover – transport boss

Coach operators have said there is “clearly something wrong” at the Port of Dover following travel chaos at the weekend and have called for talks with the government.

Graham Vidler, chief executive of industry body the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: “Something’s clearly wrong when a coach, the most efficient way to transport large numbers of people across the Channel, is treated unfairly compared to other vehicles.

“Coaches provide the answer to the environmental and congestion issues we’re trying to address, yet some of our spacious vehicles full of students and holidaymakers were left stranded.

“The procedures to enter the EU should not have a negative impact on people who don’t want to fly or drive by car to continental Europe.

“We’re calling on the government, the Port of Dover and ferry companies to get round the table with the coach sector to resolve this mess once and for all.”

Matt Mathers3 April 2023 13:50

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ICYMI: Brexit not to blame for Port of Dover delays, insists Braverman

Home secretary Suella Braverman has rejected suggestions that Brexit could be the cause of delays at the Port of Dover as passengers on the Easter getaway faced long queues.

Extra sailings were run overnight to try and clear the backlog, which has left passengers stuck in traffic for hours, and by Sunday morning the port estimated some travellers would face waits of up to eight hours, depending on the ferry operator.

Matt Mathers3 April 2023 12:30

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