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Brexit secretary Dominic Raab unaware of importance of Dover crossing

By Sean Axtell

Brexit secretary Dominic Raab said he “hadn’t quite understood” the importance of the Dover to Calais crossing.

The Conservative MP and Brexiteer, who played a prominent role in the 2016 Leave campaign, made the remark at a technology conference today.

The extraordinary declaration came as he discussed the "bespoke arrangement" the UK sought with the EU following Brexit.

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Dominic Raab was criticised today for the comments. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire
Dominic Raab was criticised today for the comments. Picture: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Labour's shadow Brexit minister, Jenny Chapman, suggested we have a Brexit secretary who doesn't even understand the very basics.

Mr Raab told the conference: "We want a bespoke arrangement in goods which recognises the peculiar, frankly, geographic, economic entity that is the United Kingdom.

"We are, and I hadn't quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and if you look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing.

"And that's one of the reasons why, and there's been a lot of controversy about this, but one of the reasons why we wanted to make sure that we have a very specific and very proximate relationship with the EU to ensure frictionless trade at the border, particularly for just-in-time manufacturing goods whether it's pharmaceutical goods or perishable goods like food."

"I don't think it's a question so much of the risk of major shortages but I think probably the average consumer might not be aware of the full extent to which the choice of goods that we have in the stores are dependent on one or two very specific trade routes."

Dover handles more international lorries than all other UK ports combined. Up to 110 miles of freight traffic pass through the port every day.

It comes after P&O boss Janette Bell today lifted the lid on how the firm will adapt after the UK leaves the bloc.

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