The UK cabinet office has rejected a £33m proposal to double the capacity for French government passport checks at Dover, dooming UK passengers to long delays at the border post-Brexit.
The port of Dover, which handles 2.2 million passenger vehicles each year, requested the funding in October to help it to pay for additional Brexit-related border expenses.
The £33m would have been used to double the number of French government passport booths from five to 10 in anticipation of more stringent requirements, including stamps in passports after January 1, according to the Financial Times.
Dover has 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, according to the FT.
The UK and EU have agreed to extend Brexit talks until the transition period deadline on 31 December, after a last-ditch trip to Brussels by the Prime Minister last week failed to produce any fruit.
The UK will automatically leave the customs union and single market if a deal is not reached by the New Year.
This morning European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen said there was a “path to agreement” in Brexit talks, as the UK and EU continued crunch talks ahead of the transition period deadline.
The news was followed by the pound hitting its highest level in two years after market optimism rose that the UK and EU would strike a post-Brexit trade agreement.