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Ed Leahy


Jo Johnson warns of fresh food access

Transport minister resigned on Friday saying Britain could not guarantee access to fresh food in no-deal Brexit scenario

Jo Johnson warns of fresh food access

Credit: Chris McAndrew

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Transport minister Jo Johnson cited the UK facing shortages of fresh food following a no-deal Brexit as one of the key reasons for stepping down.

Johnson announced his departure from government on Friday, lambasting the anticipated Brexit deal as a “travesty of democracy”, a “terrible mistake” and called for a second referendum.

He described the current situation as “a choice between two deeply unattractive outcomes, vassalage and chaos,” labelling it as a “failure of British statecraft on a scale unseen since the Suez crisis.”

In his resignation speech, Johnson raised the possibility that Britain would struggle to import fresh food as one of the big examples of such chaos.

"Certainly, I know from my own work at the Department of Transport the potential chaos that will follow a “no deal” Brexit. It will cause disruption, delay and deep damage to our economy,” Johnson said.

“There are real questions about how we will be able to guarantee access to fresh food and medicine if the crucial Dover-Calais trade route is clogged up. The government may have to take control of prioritising which lorries and which goods are allowed in and out of the country, an extraordinary and surely unworkable intervention for a government in an advanced capitalist economy.

“The prospect of Kent becoming the Lorry Park of England is very real in a no deal scenario. Orpington residents bordering Kent face disruption from plans to use the nearby M26, connecting the M25 to the M20, as an additional queuing area for heavy goods vehicles backed up all the way from the channel ports. This prospect alone would be a resigning matter for me as a constituency MP, but it is just a facet of a far greater problem facing the nation.”

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