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EU-UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement

Volume 688: debated on Wednesday 3 February 2021

We have agreed a deal that provides Welsh business with exceptional access to the EU market. It is the first time ever that the EU has agreed a zero-tariff, zero-quota deal.

Getting the Brexit deal across the line before the end of the year was important, and huge credit is due to the Government for securing it, but we have a serious situation emerging at Welsh ports, with freight levels way down on where they should be. Will my right hon. Friend work urgently with ministerial colleagues, HMRC and trade bodies to find simpler solutions to the problem of checks and paperwork, which risks making the UK land bridge more costly and less attractive for trade between Ireland and the continent?

As my right hon. Friend knows, I am in touch with Pembroke, Fishguard and Holyhead about this issue, and we are trying to make a distinction between what we can assign to covid changes in business and the other, more permanent factors that he refers to. There are some complications to do with port infrastructure, which is the responsibility of the Welsh Government. We have meetings tomorrow to try to push the Welsh Government to get that process under way more quickly. We have discussions with road hauliers about the land bridge. I assure him that we want this business to return to as near as possible as soon as possible, and I am happy to work with him and others to achieve that goal.


Before we come to Prime Minister’s questions, I want to express, on behalf of the whole House, our deep sadness at the death of Captain Sir Tom Moore. His dignity and determination in raising money to support NHS charities caught the nation’s mood at the most difficult time. He exemplified the best of our values. I know the whole House will want to join me in sending our condolences to his family and his many friends. I invite Members to join me for a minute’s silence to commemorate Sir Tom’s life, and to pay our respects to those who have lost their lives as a result of covid and their families and friends.

The House observed a one-minute silence.