Boris Johnson downplayed the number of lorry drivers stranded in Dover - according to Highways England

Tuesday, 22nd December 2020, 9:25 am
Updated Tuesday, 22nd December 2020, 9:25 am

Thousands of lorries are currently queued in Dover after being halted on their way to France, despite government claims that the queues were not extensive.

In a press conference to the nation on Monday (21 Dec), the Prime Minister addressed the UK’s current travel and freight ban from France, which came into effect on Sunday due to the highly transmissible new variant of Covid, for a period of 48 hours.

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Both Mr Johnson and Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, told the Downing Street Briefing that around 170 lorries were queuing on the M20 motorway trying to get into the port of Dover.

However, Highways England later confirmed that over 900 lorries were waiting on the M20 in Kent. The number may now be a lot higher, according to BBC reporter Simon Jones.

Mr Jones said, “Driving around Dover this morning, there are HGVs everywhere - on the side of the road, in lay bys and in car parks.

“That means the number of hauliers caught up in the chaos is likely to be far higher.”

When could lorries be allowed to travel to France?

Monday night saw lorry drivers spending a second night sleeping in their cabs, as they await news of the borders reopening.

However, despite talks with France’s Prime Minister, Emmanuel Macron, Mr Johnson was unable to say when UK lorries will be allowed into France in Monday’s briefing.

On Tuesday morning (22 Dec), Home Secretary Priti Patel told Sky News that the government is working towards a resolution, and that talks with its French counterparts will continue throughout the day.

Ms Patel said, "We're working to get a resolution... it's in both our interests.”