Grayling agrees £33m out of court settlement with Eurotunnel

1 Mar 19

The transport secretary has announced he agreed a £33m deal to prevent legal action over Brexit ferry contract failures.  

Eurotunnel was suing the government over contracts given to Seaborne Freight – a ferry company – which it said were done in a “secretive” way.  

Seaborne Freight was awarded contracts to deliver cross-Channel cargo in the event of a no deal Brexit but Eurotunnel claimed this was done in a “distortionary and anti-competitive way”, it has been reported.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has avoided legal action via an out of court settlement with Eurotunnel worth £33m, which will provide freight capacity in the event of a no-deal scenario.

The Department for Transport said the agreement will ensure the Channel Tunnel is ready to continue to keep passengers and freight moving post Brexit.

Grayling said: “While it is disappointing that Eurotunnel chose to take legal action on contracts in place to ensure the smooth supply of vital medicines, I am pleased that this agreement will ensure the Channel Tunnel is ready for a post-Brexit world.”

Meg Hillier, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said: “This was an extraordinary procurement which, as this £33 million settlement makes clear, is now unravelling at the taxpayers’ expense.

“We will pushing the Department for Transport for clear answers on the circumstances surrounding this agreement with Eurotunnel when it gives evidence to our committee next week.”

Andy McDonald, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, called for Grayling to resign.

He said: “His conduct as a minister is one of serial failure and routine incompetence. In any other sphere of life he would have been sacked long ago. I say yet again: this trail destruction has gone on long enough. It’s time for Chris Grayling to go.”

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