Plans to double the number of passport booths were rejected by the cabinet office
Holiday goers faced misery on Friday as queues of up to six hours greeted them at the port of Dover.
With this year's big rush underway reports of bumper-to-bumper traffic have been coming out of Britain's busiest ferry terminal, delays that are expected to persist over the weekend.
The BBC's Simon Jones said 3,000 lorries were currently parked on the M20.
Authorities in Kent have declared a major incident due to the traffic.
Holidaymakers have been warned not to head to the Port of Dover on one of the busiest days to travel in the UK as the school holidays start pic.twitter.com/k0wvlmdJHn
— The Mirror (@DailyMirror) July 22, 2022
Tory leadership hopeful Liz Truss has hit out at the French authorities for the "unacceptable" queues.
She called the build-up "entirely avoidable", saying: “We need action from France to build up capacity at the border to limit any further disruption for British tourists and to ensure this appalling situation is avoided in future.”
If the French are responsible for the mess in Dover, it rather rubbishes any claim that *we* have taken back control.
— James Oh Brien (@mrjamesob) July 23, 2022
The British government was actually offered a proposal back in 2020 to curtail the chaos at the border - but they rejected it.
The UK cabinet office snubbed a £33 million proposal to double the capacity for French government passport checks at Dover.
The money would have been used to significantly increase the number of French government passport booths from five to 10 in anticipation of more stringent requirements, including stamps in passports after January 1st, according to the Financial Times.
At the time, the Port of Dover had repeatedly warned that it will need to substantially boost capacity for French controls, which under a reciprocal bilateral agreement enables passports to be checked before boarding the train or ferry to France in order to ease traffic flows.
When the Department for Transport was asked why it did not approve Dover’s bid for £33 million investment, an official said the department “did not comment on individual bids”.
The French transport minister Clément Beaune tweeted on Saturday afternoon: “Mais la France n’est pas responsable du Brexit [France is not responsible for Brexit].”