Minister: No Brexit border queues for EU citizens

Guy Verhofstadt said Brits should be allowed the benefits of European citizenship even after Brexit (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Guy Verhofstadt said Brits should be allowed the benefits of European citizenship even after Brexit (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
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Airline passengers from the EU will not face lengthy waits to get through security after Brexit, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has said.

MPs pressed the Government for answers over whether leaving the European Union would heap pressure on UK borders amid warnings that more stringent passport checks for EU nationals could lead to longer queues and processing times.

Mr Grayling said he did not envisage major changes to airport security for EU nationals post-Brexit, but admitted it was too soon to say what arrangements would be put in place.

It comes after the Airport Operators Association, which represents more than 50 UK airports, warned of severe disruption for passengers after Brexit.

Speaking during transport questions, SNP MP Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) asked: “Does taking back control of our borders mean that 23 million inbound passengers from the EU pass through our airports each year will be subject to full border checks?

“Is he aware of research from the Tourism Industry Council which shows this would require UK Border Force resources to be increased by 200% and can he assure us those costs will be met from the £350 million he promised to the NHS each week?”

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Mr Grayling responded: “It is already the case that when an EU citizen arrives in this country, they have to show their passport and I don’t envisage that changing in the future.

“The Government is considering the potential impact on the border as part of our preparations for negotiating our departure from the EU. It is too soon to say what arrangements would be needed, but we are very conscious of the interests of the transport industry in the future arrangements. We remain committed to putting passengers at the heart of our transport policy.”

SNP MP Chris Law (Dundee West) asked whether there were plans to revise 25-minute queuing limits for those coming from the European Economic Area (EEA) and 45-minute limits for those outside.

In reply, Mr Grayling said: “As the Prime Minister said recently, and I would reiterate, our desire post-Brexit is not to have long queues at our borders, but to actually have sensible arrangements to allow people to travel, to do business, but also to enable us to have the controls on migration to the United Kingdom that I think people voted for last year.”