Easter travel warning as ‘significant’ contingency plans in place after chaotic Dover delays | The Sun

BRITS travelling to France for the Easter weekend have been warned to check ahead and allow more time to avoid border chaos at Dover.

Contingency plans are being put in place to avoid a repeat of the huge 15-hour queues seen at the port last weekend.

No10 urges travellers to be prepared ahead of heading off to the continent for the Bank Holiday weekend.

And the Port of Dover said they would be conducting a "full review of our plans" to learn lessons ahead of the Easter weekend.

But MPs dismissed criticisms that the huge queues were all to do with Brexit – and insisted it was down to a lack of staff and bad weather.

Asked about the potential for disruption over the Bank Holiday, the PM’s spokesman said: “We have significant contingency plans in place, we would encourage, as a matter of good practice, passengers to check those adverse weather conditions prior to travel because these can be contributory factors.”

But they admitted that there were "new processes in place" which were adding to delays.

The backlogs have now been cleared at the port – but officials blamed extra passport stamping as one reason for causing holiday hell for thousands of travellers.

Asked whether Brexit was one of the factors, the spokesman said the French were "inspecting and stamping every single passport".

The spokesman said: "We recognise there are new processes in place – that's why authorities were given a long time to prepare for the new checks, including during the transition period, of course.

"And we are in discussion with our French counterparts about how we can further improve the flow of traffic."

Tory MP Tim Loughton insisted it was a "lame excuse" to pin the blame on Brexit – and the French should shoulder part of the blame.

He told Times Radio: "It's very fashionable to blame everything on Brexit… The whole issue about what was going to happen with passports after Brexit is people wanted to make sure we were checking who was going in and out of the country.

"The problem isn't with the fact that passports are being more rigorously checked.

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"The problem is how many people we've got doing it."

He said the lack of French border staff is causing the problems, adding: "Last time I was going across the channel, we went through the British passport control in a matter of minutes.

"And then there was a big queue to get through the French passport control because only two booths out of I think 10 or 11 were actually open.

"It's because there were not sufficient border force people there from the French equivalent checking those passports. 

"Just blindly say all this is all due to Brexit. It's a bit of a lame excuse."

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The Port of Dover said on Monday: "We continue to offer our sincere apologies to all those affected by the prolonged delays that have occurred over this weekend.

"We will be conducting a full review of our plans with the ferry operators early this week to ensure improvements are made ready for the forthcoming Easter weekend."

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