The Calais MP rejected claims from the UK Government suggesting France’s failure to deploy extra border officers is at the heart of the miles-long queues gridlocking the motorway to Dover. Pierre-Henri Dumont claimed Brexit Britain had been warned about the impact of the new checks being introduced once outside of the European Union but failed to act to avoid disruptions. Speaking to Sky News, Les Republicains MP said: “Almost 100 percent of the kiosks given to the French Police to run the checks at the Port of Dover are filled with French police officers.
“We cannot do more, we can’t go faster than that. The fact is the port is a very small one, is three to four times smaller than the port in Calais.
“And I saw that two years ago the British Government decided not to give money to the Port of Dover to improve the number of kiosks for the French Police.
“We see the Tory Party is deciding who is going to be the next Prime Minister in the UK, and they’re not talking about facts.
“They’re talking about fake news and they’re blaming the French authorities for something that is not on us.”
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British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Friday the situation was unacceptable as she
Ms Truss said: “We need action from France to build up capacity at the border to limit any further disruption for British tourists and to ensure this appalling situation is avoided in future.”
Port of Dover chief executive Doug Bannister on Friday said it was “immensely frustrating” to be “let down” by poor resourcing at the French border, has also stated that there will be “increased transaction times” at the border due to extra checks needed.
Following complaints, port authorities said they were “relieved that French border staff have now been fully mobilised at French border controls in Dover”.
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The disruption at Dover were concurrent with delays for travellers heading for the Eurotunnel service at Folkstone were also facing delays.
Queues stretched two miles (3.2 km) back from the entrance.
The port delays came as some airports also struggled to recruit enough staff to manage a post-pandemic rebound in travel, leading to chaotic scenes at London airports in recent weeks.
Railway travel has also been periodically disrupted this summer by labour strikes.
Following Britain’s departure from the European Union in January 2021, new checks were introduced on both imports/exports and passports.