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Boss of Ramsgate ferry firm, Seaborne Freight, said 'the harder the Brexit the better'

A boss at the controversial ferry firm brought in by the government as part of its Brexit plans, said “the harder the Brexit the better” days before receiving the £13.8m contract.

Glenn Dudley, chief operating officer of Seaborne Freight, made the claim last month in an interview with news agency Reuters - referring to the company's fortunes.

He said problems with congestion at Dover and the Channel Tunnel at Folkestone would raise demand for the company’s new freight service at Ramsgate.

The Port of Ramsgate
The Port of Ramsgate

The company, which has no ships, is contracted to deliver freight between the port and Ostend in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking to KentOnline on Sunday, Mr Dudley said: "It's my personal view for the business, that is the reason I made that comment.

"A hard Brexit will help the business, it was a personal view."

It was revealed last week that Seaborne's chief executive headed a business in Folkestone which collapsed owing a large tax bill.

Several years ago, Ben Sharp was managing director of Mercator International Ltd which documents from Companies House show was registered at an address in Hythe, Folkestone, in 2009.

The company folded when it was the subject of a winding up order and forced into liquidation by HMRC over unpaid tax in 2014.

Mercator International’s accounts for 2013 show it owed all of its creditors a total £1.78m.

Responding to questions about the company’s demise, Mr Sharp told The Times newspaper: "The directors of Seaborne Freight are experienced business people with a long track record in industry. They have, between them, opened and in some cases closed, a number of businesses. This is of course not unusual."

Prime Minister Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May

The government was already facing questions over its decision to award Seaborne the lucrative contract after it emerged it had no ferries and had not yet signed contracts with either Ramsgate port or Ostend.

It has also drawn ridicule after its website appeared to have cut and pasted terms and conditions from a take-away restaurant.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May has said today that the parliamentary vote on her agreed deal with the EU will definitely go ahead.

MPs are expected to have their say on January 14 or January 15.

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