France has the potential to have the United Kingdom spiral in a chaotic gridlock in the event of a no deal Brexit, border official Lucy Moreton claimed.
French officials have confirmed Calais authorities have started to expand lorry security checks areas near the port in preparation for a no deal Brexit.
Immigration Service Union (ISU) general secretary Lucy Moreton has warned the British Government French border agents could create “chaotic” gridlocks between Calais and Dover by implementing harsher security checks.
Speaking to the Today programme, Ms Moreton said: “The British Government have indicated that in the event of a catastrophic drop out no deal we might wave customs control inbound in order to prioritise flow.
“But if we did that and the French didn’t, the chaos is going to be the same.”
She continued: “It’s a little bit difficult to guess what might be on the mind of French politicians and it will depend on the state of what their public and media are telling them at the time.
“But it is quite possible if they chose to impose checks, and in fact they are more prepared to do that than we are – they got their prefabs in place in Calais, they got the space, they can spread out, which you can’t do in Dover.”
Despite the warning, Ms Moraton dismissed claims Britain could face food or medicine shortages should Theresa May fail to secure a deal with Brussels.
The ISU chief insisted Britain would be able to overcome the “confusing” aftermath of leaving the European Union without an agreement and simply “carry on.”
She added: “It might have an impact in the short-term as this predicted chaos may only last a matter of days.
“Will there be food shortages, or medication shortages? No, probably not because there are other means to get these things into the UK. It’ll be confusing for a little while and I certainly wouldn’t plan a ferry trip to France in the next couple of weeks but other than that we will pretty much carry on.”
If Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal, customs checks could take up to 45 minutes on each of the thousands of lorries being carried between Dover and Calais in France.
Jean-Paul Mulot, who represents the Hauts the France region in Britain, said the Port of Calais is seeking to avoid any friction between France and Britain but confirmed there are plans in place to expand border check capabilities near the port area.
Hauts-de-France is the closest French region to the UK and contains Calais, Boulogne-sur-Mer and Dunkirk, whose ports rely heavily on business from passengers and goods travelling to Britain.
Xavier Bertrand, president of the Northern Hauts-de-France region, pleaded for more help and resources from Brussels and Paris in order to prepare for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit to preserve business between Britain and his region.
Mr Mulot said: “We are doing everything in order to maintain fluidity both at the ports and at the tunnel.
“Three units which we can put up within eight weeks, that’s going to be built. We need 200 border agents, which is equivalent to the Border Force. We know what we need to do but it’s very, very tight.”
The President of the Port of Calais, Jean-Marc Puissesseau, however, warned a no deal between the UK and the European Union would be “a disaster” for everyone involved.
Mr Puissesseau said: “That would be, of course, a disaster.
“It will be chaos in Dover, in Calais, in the North of France, by the tunnel, everywhere. And Dunkirk.”