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Fears over impact of Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal on Wales’ ports

17 Oct 2019 3 minute read
MV Stena Superfast X leaving Holyhead. Picture by Reading Tom (CC BY 2.0)

There are fears that Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal with the EU could create a border in the Irish sea, meaning customs checks between ports in Wales and the island of Ireland.

Holyhead on Anglesey is currently the UK’s second busiest port, with 400,000 lorries and trailers and half a million cars passing through every year with very minimal delay.

Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru have warned that a new border could have a deeply damaging effect on the economy of Wales, with trade facing delays, tariffs or bypassing the UK altogether.

“This deal does nothing to protect Welsh interests; let alone safeguard our economy and jobs,” Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said.

“It would wrench us out of the single market and customs union and create new barriers to trade which would make Wales poorer.”

Economists’ early analysis based on the mooted Johnson deal would reduce per capita GDP by 6.4%. They also concluded that Theresa May’s Deal would reduced GDP by 4.9%.

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster Leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP has demanded that official impact assessments must be released alongside the legal text of Boris Johnson’s deal with the European Union.

Liz Saville Roberts MP said: “The Westminster Government must now release the impact assessments of their so-called deal. It is only reasonable for us to see the effects of what we will be voting on.

“This deal will define our economy, society and children’s future for generations – to vote on it blindfold without any idea of its impact would be deeply irresponsible.

“If, as has been rumoured, a border down the Irish Sea will be created the Welsh economy will take a significant hit – especially in places like Holyhead.

“Fundamentally, what the last three years has shown is that the latest manifestation of Brexit is nothing like that which was promised in the 2016 referendum. For the sake of our democracy, economy and constituents, it is only right that this deal is put back to the people, alongside the option to remain.”



Commenting on the news of a deal between the UK and the EU, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Paul Davies AM, welcomed the development.

“A fair and balanced deal has been reached between the UK and the EU, delivering on the outcome of the referendum in 2016,” he said.

“Boris Johnson promised a deal and he’s now delivered one. The people of Wales voted to leave and today’s news takes us one step closer to achieving that.

“This deal ends the uncertainty currently faced by Welsh businesses and communities, will allow us to take full advantage of the benefits that Brexit will offer and my Assembly colleagues and I welcome this news and are fully behind the Prime Minister.”

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Ieuan Evans
Ieuan Evans
4 years ago

Why should Boris Johnson and the Tories worry about Holyhead. They never done before. Its not in their nature to even consider what’s best for Wales.

Anne Greagsby
Anne Greagsby
4 years ago

Why doesn’t Plaid Cymru realise that it is inevitable that there will be a border in the Irish sea sooner rather than later. Wise up Plaid. Support irish unity.

Ann Owen
Ann Owen
4 years ago
Reply to  Anne Greagsby

Anne Greagsby: No border in the Irish Sea if Wales becomes independent with full membership of the EU. Irish unity is up to the Irish – but is bound to come and in my mind it should, as should Welsh independence. Sooner the better!

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
4 years ago

Wales has not even been thought of over the last 3 years. As far as the Tories are concerned the country doesn’t exist. This rhetoric about what the people of Wales voted for is totally delusional, for a start the vote was not far of 50/50 so no matter what the diehards say there was no clear consensus for leaving. The Tories would force us out even if the majority was just one person they are so desperate to save their party from the mess they’ve made. We must stop them but if they succeed seek independence at the same… Read more »

Max Wallis
Max Wallis
4 years ago

Customs checks are inevitable under any form of Brexit – why di Plaid take so long to see implications for Holyhead and Fishguard traffic?
Wales gewts no benefit from the English and EU juggernauts pounding through. Delays will give us retail sales and some overnight stops. But also encourage transfer to new Irish ferries direct to EU ports; good for CO2 and the environment.
Much more important impacts come from abandoning regulatory alignment, disadvantaging Welsh exports of agri-produce, car-parts etc. in the EU – abandoning our major markets in favour of trade-treaty mirages.

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