Wales politics

Holyhead port may be more complex post-Brexit - Davis

David Davis
Image caption David Davis was responding to a question from Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams

The main Welsh port for Ireland may have "an extra layer of complexity" after Britain leaves the EU, Brexit Secretary David Davis has said.

Mr Davis said he had yet to have "an explicit discussion" with the Welsh Government about the future of Holyhead but "it's in our mind".

He was being questioned by MPs on the Brexit committee.

"One of my aims in this is to try to get an outcome which doesn't do harm to Ireland," Mr Davis said.

Around 400,000 lorries a year use Holyhead to travel between the Irish Republic and the UK.

The UK government is committed to not having a hard-border with Ireland, although the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it needs to provide more detail on how to avoid that happening.

Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams asked what discussions he had had with the Welsh Government about arrangements that might need to be made on the Wales-Ireland border.

Mr Davis told him: "Nothing explicit to Holyhead yet. All the DAs [devolved administrations] would have explicit port issues for themselves."

The Brexit secretary said the Holyhead port "may even have an extra layer of complexity later on if we get special arrangements".

"And the truth of the matter is one of the objectives... is to try to get an outcome which doesn't do harm to Ireland," Mr Davis said.

"Ireland is the country which is most dependent on us for trade about a billion a week, both ways, in both directions and they have got a great deal of, as it were, investment in maintaining sales both to us and through us to the continent and of course much of that comes through Holyhead."

He added: "So it's in our mind but we haven't had an explicit discussion on it yet."

Image caption Might there be greater customs checks at Holyhead after Brexit?

Mr Williams had pointed out that the Welsh Government was responsible for the roads leading to the port and a possible third bridge across the Menai Strait might cost £100m but would be of great interest to exporters from Ireland.

Mr Davis also told the committee that although some devolved governments were not happy with the way a joint committee where Welsh and UK ministers discussed Brexit they had decided to go back to it.

He also said First Minister Carwyn Jones had "welcomed the direction of travel" of the prime minister's Florence speech on Brexit.

After the committee meeting Mr Williams said: "It is astonishing that the secretary of state has held no discussions at all on this issue and it is sadly indicative of the priorities of the British government and its capacity to deal with the pile of problems being created by their insistence on leaving the Customs Union and the Single Market."

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