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The Department for Transport has settled with Eurotunnel for £33 million, after the company threatened legal action over the Brexit ferry scandal.

Eurotunnel accused the government of being “secretive” over the contracts awarded to three firms by transport secretary Chris Grayling, and complained that it had not been approached for the contract despite having run a cross-Channel ferry service until 2015.

The contract was not put out to tender, the government claiming an exemption from the usual rules on the basis that the prospect of a no-deal Brexit was a matter of urgency, but the legality of this came under scrutiny.

One of the companies, start-up Seaborne Freight—which was awarded a contract worth £13.8 million—had no ships at the time the deal was made and had never operated a cross-Channel service.

As part of the settlement, Eurotunnel has agreed to make improvements to its Folkestone terminal such as installing new scanners and altering traffic routes to improve congestion.

“While it is disappointing that Eurotunnel chose to take legal action on contracts in place to ensure the smooth supply of vital medicines, I am pleased that this agreement will ensure the Channel Tunnel is ready for a post-Brexit world,” Grayling said in the announcement.

Andy McDonald, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, has called for Grayling’s resignation.

Source: BBC News

Header image: Rémi Müller

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