WESTMINSTER UK. No 10 Downing Street has announced that a chaotic and controversial ferry contract awarded to a company with no ships as part of no-deal Brexit plans has been scrapped, the government said.
The Department of Transport said it decided to axe the deal after the company’s Irish backer pulled out. Arklow Shipping, a major Irish shipping firm, withdrew its support from Seaborne “without warning”.
Government Transport Ministers had faced criticism for the £14.8M deal with Seaborne Freight, which the news sources found had never run a ferry service.
The government says it is in “advanced talks” to find another ferry firm.
The government faced strong criticism for choosing Seaborne Freight, company with no ships or trading history, and for leaving too little time to establish the new ferry service before the Brexit deadline of 29 March.
Responding to the move, Labour called on Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to resign or be sacked, saying he is “the worst secretary of state ever”.
Andy McDonald, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, said: “As we predicted, the Seaborne Freight contract has been cancelled. The Chris Grayling catalogue of calamities grows bigger by the day… He has to go.”
And Andrew Gwynne, the shadow shadow secretary of state for communities and local government, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is yet again another indication of a government that had no plan for Britain should we leave the European Union without a deal.
“It’s another example of a major disaster in the hands of Chris Grayling who must be classed as the worst secretary of state ever.”
Seaborne Freight was awarded the £13.8m contract in December to run a freight service between Ramsgate and Ostend in the event that Britain leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March.
The government said that no taxpayer money has been transferred to Seaborne.