RHA claims MP Chris Grayling attempted to “silence” them on no-deal Brexit

Published: 30 July 2019

RHA claims MP Chris Grayling attempted to “silence” them on no-deal Brexit
Many claims have been raised by members of the haulage industry that Chris Grayling has attempted to “silence” them in regards to their concerns on a no-deal Brexit. This was explored in Panorama earlier this month.

Speaking to BBC, the Road Haulage Association said Grayling threatened the organisations heads saying that they would stop engaging with them after the RHA spoke with members of the press following a private meeting with Grayling in August 2018.

Richard Burnett described a voicemail Grayling had left him following the Association delivering a press release regarding the meeting and some of the details that were disclosed throughout.
In the voicemail message, Grayling said: "I've got to say how very disappointed I am.”

He continued: “I had intended to involve you closely in the planning over the next few months, but issuing a press release straight after meeting like that makes it much more difficult for me to do that."

Sharing his thoughts on the Transport Secretary’s view, Grayling said: "trying to silence an industry that's trying to help Government guide them".

He elaborated: "My sense of that message was - either shut up or you don't engage. You either play ball with us or you won't be part of the negotiations on behalf of the industry."

The RHA clarified that talks with Government officials have continued since this conversation, despite Grayling’s threat. Speaking on their actions, a spokesman for the Department for Transport stated: "The RHA has been heavily involved in our EU exit preparatory work and we will continue to involve them at every stage of our planning.

"It is extremely unfortunate when details of private conversations held in confidence are made public in a press release."

The former secretary at the Department for Exiting the European Union, Philip Rycroft also shared his thoughts on the matter during the documentary: "I think everybody should be worried about what happens in a no-deal situation. We would be taking a step into the unknown."

"It's not in the UK's interest to have no-deal, it's not in the EU's interest to have a no-deal.”
He concluded: "The rational outcome over the next few months is to get a deal because that is overwhelmingly in the economic interest of both the EU and the UK."

Rycroft stepped down from his role just before the initial Brexit deadline back in March, elaborating, he said there are an estimated “16,000 civil servants whose jobs are dedicated to Brexit-related issues” naming it as a “Unprecedented situation” as well as “the biggest exercise across government we’ve seen over the last few decades.”

Rycroft added: "The planning I think is in good shape, absolutely... but of course what that doesn't mean is that there won't be an impact from Brexit, and particularly a no-deal Brexit, because that is a very major change and it would be a very abrupt change to our major trading relationship."

The RHA continues to maintain their vital relationship with Government officials in regards to Brexit, speaking on behalf of the industry on many issues that drivers will face in the coming months as a result of the UK leaving the European Union.
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