Tory MP clashes with transport secretary as work begins to turn M26 into ‘parking lot’

PUBLISHED: 13:15 11 October 2018 | UPDATED: 15:51 11 October 2018

Tom Tugendhat, MP for Tonbridge and Malling, in the House of Commons. (Parliament TV)

Tom Tugendhat, MP for Tonbridge and Malling, in the House of Commons. (Parliament TV)

Archant

A senior Tory MP has hit out at the transport minister Chris Grayling for leaving him in the dark as work began to turn the M26 into a “parking lot” ahead of Brexit.

Tom Tugendhat, MP for Tonbridge and Malling, said overnight work had started despite assurances nothing was planned.

Concerns were ramped up further when Kent County Council Highways wrongly tweeted the motorway was to be closed overnight from November 19 until March 29 - the day Britain is set to leave the EU.

MORE: Grounded? Unfriendly Brexit could stop flights, spending watchdog chief warns

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said he did not expect any of the no-deal Brexit contingencies to be required as he believes a deal will be struck with Brussels.

Part of the M26 in Kent could be used as a holding area for lorries in order to ease potential gridlock, amid concerns that a no-deal Brexit may result in delays at the nearby port of Dover.

MORE: We’ve come so far - now for the big push

Speaking in the Commons, Tugendhat said: “It’s come to a pretty pass when a member finds out that works have begun on a motorway to turn that motorway into a parking lot without consultation either with the local community or with surrounding members.

“The M26 works started last night. I wrote to (Grayling) in April asking whether or not this would happen. I was assured the works were not planned and only yesterday was it confirmed to me that Highways England had said that is exactly what was planned, despite having told me the reverse a week earlier.”

He urged Grayling to explain how the planning permission was granted with “no consultation”.

Grayling said he was happy to meet the MP to discuss the issue, adding: “I do not expect any of the contingencies that we have in place for a no-deal Brexit to be needed because I’m confident we will reach a sensible agreement.”

MORE: Remain hero Ken Clarke tells hardliners ‘you’re the minority’

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Find out more

Latest Articles

Most Read

 

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Grassroots anti-Brexit campaigners are increasing the pressure on politicians ahead of a series of important votes this year. Here is a list of the events organised across Britain in the coming weeks and months.

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy