Craig Mackinlay MP: Ferries, lorries and divorcing the EU

Craig Mackinlay

I hope all readers had an enjoyable and restful Christmas season; the festive season now seems, for many, to be a full two week holiday period, but spare a thought for all those working across the emergency services, the NHS and in retail for whom there is little time off. January is enjoyed by some as a fresh beginning, and a further stepping stone to count out the Winter. It has always been my least favoured month: often the coldest, the nights still long and when I was working fully as an accountant in practice, the busiest month as laggardly clients finally bring in their records to meet the 31st January tax return deadline. If you’re one of those who have to submit a tax return – time is ticking by!

We start 2019 with Brexit still dominating the news and Thanet now receiving national media attention at the forefront of no-deal Brexit planning. We have the ‘dress rehearsal’ of lorry movements from Manston to Dover in case Operation Stack/Brock comes in to play if French customs play up after 29th March. All seems a little far-fetched to me as the Europe wide logistics industry would grind to a halt with losses experienced across much of the EU if German, Polish and Romanian lorries become stuck in the UK because of intransigent behaviour in Calais.

This leads on conveniently to further no-deal planning with other cross-channel and cross North Sea routes being planned for. Ports in Belgium and Holland would welcome the opportunity to expand their operations at the expense of the all-powerful Calais access point for cross-border trade. The significance here is of course Ramsgate and Seaborne Freight. Much has been guessed at, speculated at and sneered at over the past weeks when the story emerged. I have not had sight of the detail of the contract the Department for Transport have negotiated with Seaborne, but do understand that it is a wholly ‘contingent’ contract. Simply, if there is no service there will be no money. In the meantime our port will be upgraded and the sea approaches, always subject to extreme silting will be dredged at somebody else’s expense. This has to be good news.

Ramsgate Port Photo Trevor Shonk

Whilst I have always had my doubts as to the long term viability, or desirability for Ramsgate Port to re-open to freight only ferry traffic when something new and dynamic could emerge from the long redundant port site, I’m comfortable with where we are and I wish Seaborne the best of luck in finding ships, crew and new business.

We hear much, often with a negative overtone, when ‘no-deal Brexit’ is discussed. Leaving cleanly and trading on WTO terms would have short-term lumps and bumps, but this type of arrangement is merely an international normality. It is a ‘deal’ and a well-recognised one. We’d be saving the £39Bn offered up as a divorce settlement, protecting the Union and put ourselves in the driving seat to conclude new international trade deals. A lively few days ahead in Parliament as the Withdrawal Agreement returns to the House of Commons for debate.


    Seaborne Freight etc.. Here in Flanders nobody shows any enthousiasm
    for a new freight only or mixed ferry service to Ramsgate After the demise of Transeuropa Ferries there were collossal financial losses for the port of Ostend which now has found a new future in windpark developments. Extreme policing of ferryservices to avoid transmigrant traffic etc.. Nobody wants the bother. Roro will not bring in money for the local economy. Crews, drivers will be East-European. So why
    bother? The Ramsgate run is much costlier than any other operation.
    Seaborne Freight is headed by people who in the past competed with
    the Ostend Ferries from Calais and Dunkerque. Why help out when the
    “Brits” want Brexit? Some enthusiasts still dream of Ostend as the
    gateway between Britain and the Continent but that has long gone up in …. Government subsidies, duty free income, have gone and if there
    is nothing to be gained financially on a long term basis there will ne
    no future ferry link. Martin Minnebo Flanders

  2. Typical Craig here.. portioning out the blame to all and sundry whilst ignoring and deflecting any possible criticism on his own party. His willingness to absolve himself and the government of any level of responsibility is appalling yet utterly unsurprising.

  3. I find it odd that Mackinlay is so blade about a hard Brexit under WTO rules when his own treasury says that under any Brexit scenario the UK would lose out in terms of growth, jobs and money; a hard Brexit would be catastrophic.
    Just look at what the USA is doing with China, for example. It really isn’t credible that Trump and his administration will enter into any trade deal that’s anything other than favourable to the USA.

  4. Craig, a happy new year to you too. I have written to you several times. I have received no reply. We urgently need coordinated action to prevent the closure of the Stroke unit at QEQM.

    Will you please raise this in Parliament as a matter of great urgency! Thanet must not lose this vital life saving service!

    • I find it pretty awful that one of our local MPs does not reply to a serving KCC and TDC Cllr.
      Whilst there is obviously many different opinions ,Tory Labour wise,questions raised about the stroke unit are important for everyone in Thanet .

  5. Why does Mr Mackinlay talk about “intransigance at Calais” as if that might be the reason for lorry congestion?

    The reason for lorry chaos will be the red-tape and paperwork that will have to be checked at Dover. It has been calculated that, if each lorry only takes an extra 2 minutes for its paperwork to be checked, the queues will stretch beyond Maidstone.
    But the extra paperwork comes because 37% of British adults voted to take us out of the EU. So, as a “third country” , no longer part of the biggest trading bloc in the world, Britain will have to accept the need to prove that our goods and services are acceptable in the EU. As EU members , we do not need to do this.

    • Brexit IS going to happen, so you Remoaners should accept that and help to overcome the inevitable difficulties to achieve UK independence. The EU exports plenty of goods to England, and will be as loathe to see that cease as Britain would to see the reverse cause problems. And as for the previous comment about Trump – yes, he will look after US interests in any deal, but only very small improvements in the way it affects the much smaller UK economy will see the UK blossom! Have confidence, as we did during the war, and be pleased that Germany will have no control over the UK again! MGBGA!

      • In the advisory referendum, about 37% of the electorate said they wanted to leave the EU. The other 63% did not. About 35% of the electorate said they wanted to stay in the EU.

        Who on earth are these Remoaners people mention occasionally? None of the people I know who want to stay in the EU seem to do any moaning, they just don’t see what the benefits of leaving the EU might be.

      • The EU exports vastly more to the rest of the EU. And Brexit will affect more than just “England”. Never mind Germany, what fills me with anxiety is the prospect of having to kowtow to Trump, and China, and Saudi Arabia in order to beg a few crumbs from their tables should they be so disposed. Do you really think the USA, China and so on will extend the hand of friendship, along with liberal trade deals, to the UK?
        I suppose “MGBGA” means “Make Great Britain Great Again”. What on Earth does that mean? Colour the map pink again? Send gunboats up the delta to sort out the fuzzy-wuzzies? Drink pink Gina on the verandah with the memsab whilst the punkawallah wafts his fan?
        Good grief. Get real. This is the 21st, not the 19th century.
        Brexit will be bad for Britain. A hard Brexit will be catastrophic.

        • All true, but we “remoaners” are apparently just aggrieved at having lost. No, what i am aggrieved at is the hardship many people will endure because the older generation believe the sun and the daily mail. Britain will not be great, we will be medioxre if we are lucky

          • I’d like to point out that I know several people in their sixties (including me) and seventies who want Britain to remain in the EU. But yes, the assumption that we are being childishly petulant is very irritating.

      • Brexit is getting further away everyday. The animals who attacked Anna Soubry makes many of us ashamef to be British.

  6. Another Brexit lie snuck in here. If we leave without a deal it will NOT be on ‘WTO terms’ as we are a member of the WTO via our EU membership, not as an individual country, and we would need to agree a deal to join the WTO on our own. We would be out on our own with basically no trade deals with anyone.

    Also I’ve no idea what this ‘intransigence’ is in Calais?? If we don’t have a free trade deal with the EU then we are legally obliged to record goods travelling into/out of our country and levy appropriate tariffs. The ‘intransigence’ is much closer to home!

  7. Brexit backing MPs lack an eye for detail and struggle with addition and subtraction; as a result they make misleading claims.

  8. HNY Craig,
    I have contacted Roger Gale regarding three of his constituents in his ward that have been subject to child sexual abuse, recently Theresa May welcomed Sammy Woodhouse into Parliament and said all rape victims will be heard. I have emailed Theresa May regarding this matter and have not yet received a reply. I have all the evidence to this case should you wish to see it, as clearly Sir Roger is not interested in representing the mother and her children.

    Kind Regards
    Cllr Suzanne Brimm.

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