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INCOMPETENT Transport Secretary Chris Grayling faced mounting pressure to go over the weekend after the government axed its no-deal Brexit ferry contract with a company which owned no ships.
Mr Grayling had faced criticism in the previous weeks for the £13.8 million deal struck in December with Seaborne Freight.
The start-up company, which was established in April 2017, was awarded control of freight services that would have run from Ramsgate to Ostend, Belgium, in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
However, a BBC investigation revealed that the company had no ferries or ships, and no experience running ferry services.
The deal became even more farcical when it emerged that the company had copied its terms and conditions from what appeared to be a takeaway restaurant company.
A Department for Transport (DfT) spokesman said that the government decided to terminate the contract after the Irish firm Arklow Shipping withdrew its previous support of Seaborne.
The department is in “advanced talks” to strike another deal with an unnamed alternative ferry firm, he said.
But rail union RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The news comes as no surprise to us at all.
“The whole exercise is a complete and utter shambles with the government ignoring union calls on what needs to happen.
“Instead, it is blundering on from crisis to crisis.
“This government’s ‘wing-and-a-prayer’ approach was always doomed to failure and it’s time for Chris Grayling to stop attacking RMT and start listening to people who actually know what they are talking about instead of the chancers selling him a pile of old rope they don’t even own.”
Meanwhile, Labour has called on Mr Grayling to resign, with shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne calling him “the worst secretary of state ever” on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday.
Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald also called on Mr Grayling to quit over the no-ferry ferry company shambles.
He said: “This cannot go without consequence.
“The Chris Grayling catalogue of calamities grows bigger by the day.
“This contract was never going to work but this Secretary of State, true to form, blunders from one disaster to another.
“While Theresa May needs the few friends she has right now, we cannot have this incompetent Transport Secretary carry on heaping humiliation after humiliation on our country. He has to go.”
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