LONDON : Work began on Thursday to extend a small British port that could serve as a back-up if the UK leaves the European Union with no trade deal, providing the government some respite after days of criticism.
Less than three months before Britain leaves the EU on March 29, the transport minister has been forced to defend awarding a 14 million pound ($18 million) contract for shipping goods to a new ferry company that has no ships.
On Thursday the company, Seaborne Freight, came in for further criticism when its business terms and conditions showed references to placing “any meal/order”, prompting speculation on social media that it had copied the format from a takeaway delivery company.
“Seaborne Freight. No ships, no trading history and website T&Cs copied and pasted from a takeaway delivery site,” Tom Watson, deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party, said on Twitter.
The Department for Transport said the company’s section on terms and conditions was put up in error and the company said it was updating its website as part of the launch.
But the furore has raised questions over whether Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has sufficient resources to prepare for its exit from the world’s biggest trading bloc after 46 years.