Question Time audience member clashes with Hartley-Brewer
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The man, who lives near the A20, blasted the measures known as Operation Brock, which involve long queues of lorries, as “ridiculous”. He added that “it blocks the entire county” and “everybody gets impacted” by the plan which has effectively brought Kent to a standstill in recent days following the P&O Ferries crisis and more people travelling.
He said: “It blocks the entire county. I live on the A20 and you get two or three hour delays because they’ve closed the motorway. It’s ridiculous.
“Everybody gets impacted, it’s a ludicrous plan.”
Greg Hands, the Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, defended the use of the plan, saying it had been operated “effectively” in 2020 when France closed its border due to a new coronavirus variant.
He said: “It’s a plan that we’ve had in place for some years now. We’ve operated [it] before.
“I think effectively it was operated before, late in 2020, when France closed the border with the Omicron variant, if I remember correctly.
“And it has been in operation before but clearly we are looking at all available measures.
“Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, is very focused on this job and we’re taking really tough action on P&O as well.”
At this point the man snapped back blasting Mr Hands’ comments
He said: “It’s not P&O, it’s easy to blame them. It’s a lack of planning.”
Operation Brock is a contraflow system that separates regular and HGV traffic on the M20 when the Port of Dover and/or The Eurotunnel are closed.
It allows regular traffic to proceed while allowing an opportunity for HGVs to wait for the port or Eurotunnel to reopen.
It has been in active use since March 25 when P&O Ferries sacked 800 of their staff without notice, severely impacting cross channel ferry services from Dover.
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Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry described the country’s infrastructure as “fragile” and blamed the Government’s deal with the EU for the delays.
She said: “I think we’ve really got a fragile infrastructure because we had a deal with the European Union that was signed off on Christmas Eve.
“And [it] has got great big holes in it and those holes should have really been patched since we signed that deal but ministers have been missing in action.
“They don’t seem to be getting down to patching these holes up.”
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