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Seaborne Freight

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:41 pm on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Richard Burden Richard Burden Labour, Birmingham, Northfield 1:41 pm, 8th January 2019

In April 2018, Seaborne Freight issued in writing an investor briefing that claimed:

“Detailed port agreements with Ramsgate and Ostend negotiated and agreed”,

but it is now clear that no such agreements exist to this day. Indeed, the Mayor of Ostend has given an interview in which he said:

“A start-up in March is simply impossible. There is currently no agreement with Ramsgate and also with Ostend”.

If the Secretary of State has satisfied himself that due diligence checks have been carried out that confirm the suitability of Seaborne Freight to receive a £13.8 million Government contract, will he tell us what weight he has attached to the fact that Seaborne Freight has issued inaccurate investor briefings? Will he also finally answer the question asked by my right hon. Friend Hilary Benn, the Chair of the Brexit Committee, and name just one ship that due diligence checks have revealed Seaborne Freight is likely to be able to bring into service by March?