The transport minister of the United Kingdom was under fresh pressure to step down from his post after the government stacked up a loss amounting to 50 million pounds ($65 million) for cancelling the contracts to charter additional ferries to bring in essential supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The decision to award the contracts has been considered as a major political embarrassment following the revelation that the government handed out a 14 million pound contract for additional ferries to a firm that owned no ferries and published the terms and conditions on its website that seemed to be for a takeaway food business.
Then, the UK government was forced to pay another 33 million pounds to settle a lawsuit that was brought by Eurotunnel, which filed a complaint that it was unfairly barred from bidding on the ferry contracts, which were apparently negotiated in secret.
The botched handling of the contracts, led Chris Grayling, the British transport minister, to be nicknamed “failing Grayling” by local newspapers.
Originally, the contracts were awarded four months ago as part of the broader strategy of the UK government to ensure that the United Kingdom was not left without key supplies.
The government placed its contingency plans on hold after the leaders of the European Union agreed last month to push back the date of Brexit to as late as the end of October.
The transport spokesperson of opposition Labour Party, Andy McDonald, stated: “Chris Grayling and the ferry contracts will evermore be a case study in ministerial incompetence.”
He added: “His career as a minister has left a trail of scorched earth and billions of pounds of public money wasted. This country cannot afford Chris Grayling.”
The Department for Transport did not comment regarding the matter.
The National Audit Office issued a report on the preparations of the government. Previously, it estimated that cancelling the deals would cost the country approximately 56.6 million pounds. However, a government official, who requested to remain anonymous, said that the cost would probably be closer to 50 million pounds.
The official said that it was a necessary insurance policy.