The Liberal Democrats have demanded the Prime Minister declares a “State of Emergency” in Kent with over 5,000 lorries left stranded after the border between France and the UK was closed to trade and travel.

Ed Davey: If Ministers fail to act now and commit the resources needed now, they risk things spiralling further out of control.

Photo: Ed Davey By Richard Townsend

According to the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, an emergency can be declared if “an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in the United Kingdom or in a Part or region.”

After hosting his own urgent summit with senior local Lib Dem councillors, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey warned that human welfare is seriously at risk in Kent and the Prime Minister must “act now” or “risk things spiralling further out of control.”

In addition to drivers going hungry and limited access to sanitation, media outlets in Kent are now reporting lorry and van drivers are clashing with police and have blockaded the Port of Dover as tensions over testing soar.

The British Retail Consortium has also said trucks needed to start travelling again in the next 24 hours to “avoid seeing problems on our shelves”.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said: “Boris Johnson must recognise the crisis in Kent has got out of control and show some leadership.

“Without food and access to sanitation, people are in real trouble. If Ministers fail to act now and commit the resources needed now, they risk things spiralling further out of control.

“There is an urgent need to coordinate rapid covid testing in Dover and Folkestone to keep people safe, unlock the road network, and protect residents from disturbance just before Christmas.

“In the face of the risk to people’s welfare, the Prime Minister must declare a “State of Emergency” in Kent.”

Folkestone & Hythe Liberal Democrats Group Leader Tim Prater added: “Through no fault of their own, lorries and tourists unable to cross the channel are causing gridlock through East Kent. We can’t leave those caught with no shelter or food through Christmas, and we can’t leave local residents trapped in their homes.

The Government has got to stop pretending that they have this under control, and stop misleading people of the scale of the problem. This is an emergency for East Kent now and its time they admitted it and put enough resources into place to help fix it.”

The definition of an emergency under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 can be found here. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/36/section/19

Ed Davey this morning met virtually with Rob Bird, the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Kent County Council, and Tim Prater, the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group and cabinet member on Folkestone & Hythe District Council.

By Ed