News

Welsh Secretary claims Brexit voters weren’t ‘naive’ about ‘issues’ at ports

18 Oct 2021 4 minutes Read
Holyhead Harbour. Picture by Darren Glanville (CC BY-SA 2.0). Simon Hart (right) by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0).

The Welsh Secretary has claimed that Brexit voters were not “naive” about the “issues” leaving the EU would create at ports in Wales.

Simon Hart acknowledged there have been “challenges” at Welsh ports “as a result of Brexit” but added that he believes “people voted in the certain knowledge that this was going to be quite a significant transition period”.

The Conservative MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire was being quizzed by Iain Dale on Cross Question on the LBC radio station about the impact of Brexit on the shortage of HGV drivers.

The crisis led to food shortages in supermarkets, and restaurants, and to people panic buying fuel at petrol stations.

But contrary to some experts, Hart argued that the shortage in HGV drivers didn’t have anything to do with leaving the European Union.

However, he did admit that some of the issues with importing and exporting goods through Welsh ports were as a result of Brexit, saying that these were “predicted”.

Because of these difficulties Wales is being increasingly bypassed as a trade route with Irish-French sea connections reaching 44 with a new terminal in the ferry port of Dunkirk.

Opening the terminal at the French port is part of a post Brexit move to avoid the UK land bridge through Holyhead.

Ireland-France sea routes have risen from 12 before the UK left the European Union, to 44 now as exporters increasingly side step the UK since 1 January when Brexit took effect.

The UK land bridge through Holyhead is now associated with delays and customs formalities and the importance of Dunkirk has become the latest outworking of Brexit and reflects the growing need for direct sea routes from Ireland to the continent.

‘Problem’ 

Iain Dale asked: “Can you bring yourself to admit that a proportion, however small, a proportion of the problem is due to Brexit?”

Simon Hart replied: “No as far as HGV is concerned, no. Because I think that is wrong.

“However, what I would say if it reassures you a little bit, is that of course there have been, as were predicted some consequences of Brexit.”

He continued: “For example some of the Import-Export infrastructure issues in Wales. In Wales we’ve got Holyhead Port, Fishguard, Pembroke. These have had their challenges as a result of Brexit

“Not only did we know that would be the case, but I think people voted in the certain knowledge that this was going to be quite a significant transition period, compounded by Covid, which people didn’t know at the time.

“And so I don’t think people were in any sense naïve about that.”

Iain Dale then asked: “Just finally, why won’t a Cabinet minister actually say the truth?

“The truth is that a lot of these problems are caused by the failure of the road haulage industry to plan for this not just years, but decades.

“They’ve known that they’ve had an aging demographic, they’ve known that this is going to happen just as in other countries it’s happened

“Why haven’t they planned for it? Why haven’t they increased wages to attract more people, more younger people into the sector?”

Simon Hart said: “I think you know, out government, this government, my party have always I hope have been reasonably honest about the fact we are, we try to not interfere particularly in the running of the private sector.

“We try to always step out of the way, create the circumstances in which businesses can flourish. It’s one of the Conservatives’ great sort of battle cries. “

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
16 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jane Mahon
Jane Mahon
1 month ago

Well if the people were informed of the consequences of brexit they have no one but themselves for the “benefits” they’re getting now.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

This man is totally deluded, and out of touch with reality. I bet the voters at the ports voted leave, because they were about to see what is happening with ferry services, NOT. They voted because of the false promises, that his party among others made. When it comes to Brexit , this lot wouldn’t know the truth if it kicked him in his small potatoes. He is becoming more odious by the day with his deluded statements.

anglion
anglion
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

where is Felix Steiner ??

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  anglion

Not just rocket science eh!

ArgolFawr
ArgolFawr
1 month ago

The man’s shameless and repeated attempts to distort truths is galling.

“Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”… Joseph Goebbels

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

I must have a look at this man’s ‘register of interests’ it could explain a lot…another spade blunted…the heat you feel may not be the magma but just your pants on fire…

Stephen
Stephen
1 month ago

Well said Simon, the HGV industry is to blame…not Brexit.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Stephen

He, and the Tory party do not interfere with the private sector. Just everything else.

Dafydd Iwan
Dafydd Iwan
1 month ago

Could Mr. Hart please refer us to any specific warning by Brexiteers about the troubles faced by Welsh ports? Anything at all?

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

Brexit voters were not naive, they were swindled, just like the rest of us. Seen your supermarket shelves lately?

Andrew Dewing
Andrew Dewing
1 month ago

It wasn’t planned for because any form of planning would have been an admission that the issues raised and summarily dismissed as Project Fear would have been exposed as the realities they have become.

John Davis
John Davis
1 month ago

Losing anything up to 25,000 EU HGV drivers after Brexit is not a line that it’s wise for a minister to take in Johnson’s solidly pro-Brexit cabinet if he wishes to keep his job, particularly a Remainer like Hart. He is clearly paying attention to the Tory standard of truth. From David Davis: “There is no downside to Brexit, only considerable upsides” and we can have “the exact same benefits as EU membership”. Boris Johnson: “there will be no forms, no checks, no barriers of any kind between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.” How about Raab: “consumers… Read more »

Ieuan Evans
Ieuan Evans
1 month ago

So Hart believes that Welsh Brexi voters knew the effect on Welsh ports. Hence the reason why the Government didn’t highlight these to the public. Shameful.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

What Brexiteers were indeed naive about was believing confident tricksters Simon Hart and fellow little Englanders who said Wales would get more money post-Brexit. That our trade deals would be over-ready and Germany & France would be knocking down our doors to sell us their cars & champagne to us in this septic isle. Oh how the deluded of Wales were easily led by their Whitehall puppetmaster. And did Simon Hart also inform Welsh voters at the time when campaigning for Brexit that Wales NHS would not receive any of the infamous £350m per week sent to the EU as… Read more »

Grayham Jones
1 month ago

Kick this idiot out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh kick all English party’s out of wales that’s the Tories Labour and all Brexit party’s start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
1 month ago

The referendum was about immigration. Stopping refugees entering the UK.
There was never enough thougt or information about the inpacts

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.