‘Rishi Sunak’s disregard for Welsh ports speaks volumes’ says Plaid Westminster leader
Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader has hit out at Rishi Sunak’s suggestion that the decline in trade via Holyhead after Brexit was inevitable saying his “disregard for Welsh ports speaks volumes”.
When pressed by Liz Saville Roberts MP on the adverse impact of post-Brexit trade rules on trade between Holyhead and Dublin, the Prime Minister said “it was always going to be the case after we left the European Union that sending things to the European Union from the UK would be different”.
Ms Saville Roberts pointed out that pre-Brexit, 30% of the trade from Holyhead to Dublin went on to Northern Ireland.
She asked the Prime Minister whether, by formalising the green lane arrangement for goods travelling directly to Northern Ireland, the policy would disadvantage Welsh ports.
Ms Saville Roberts urged the Prime Minister to recognise that UK Government policy now “incentivises hauliers to avoid the Port of Holyhead and to provide economic opportunities to “counterbalance that damage”.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday Liz Saville Roberts said: “There is, of course, much to welcome in today’s statement, but I must press the Prime Minister on a specific point.
“In his statement, he casually mentioned the burdens on shipments between Holyhead and Dublin.
“He failed to mention that, pre-Brexit, about 30% of all trade through the port went on to Northern Ireland from Dublin.
“That trade is reorientating as we speak, in real time, aggravating the already devastating impact of Brexit on the port of Holyhead.
“Can the Prime Minister clarify whether this new agreement will guarantee seamless trade between Northern Ireland and Wales via Dublin?
“If not, will he recognise that green lanes will disadvantage Welsh ports?”
The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak responded: “This is about ensuring the free flow of goods within our United Kingdom, that is what the green lane is there to do.
“It was always going to be the case after we left the European Union that sending things to the European Union from the UK would be different.
“What this agreement is about is prioritising trade within the United Kingdom’s internal market and the green lane that we have delivered through this framework does exactly that.”
Speaking after the session Liz Saville Roberts added: “The Prime Minister’s disregard for Welsh ports speaks volumes.
“Holyhead has been hung out to dry by the UK Government who have no understanding or interest in the large volumes of GB-NI internal UK trade that pre-Brexit went via Dublin.
“The Welsh Government too have been slow to respond to these problems. The Prime Minister should at least recognise that Government policy now incentivises hauliers to avoid the Port of Holyhead and provide economic opportunities to counterbalance that damage.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.