Gavin Newlands – 2022 Speech on P&O Ferries

The speech made by Gavin Newlands, the SNP Transport Spokesperson, in the House of Commons on 28 March 2022.

Can I, through the Minister, thank the Secretary of State for what he has said and the content of the letter that he and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy sent to P&O today? These actions have been utterly reprehensible, but I do have to ask where the progressive zealot intent on protecting jobs was when British Airways threatened to fire and rehire 30,000 staff. If some action had been taken at that point, we might not have been in this position today with P&O. However, it is better that a sinner repenteth, and the Government are indeed on the right side of the road now, which I very much welcome, because the actions of P&O are abhorred by everyone not just in this House, but right across the country.

The Minister said in his response to the shadow Secretary of State that he cannot give any details now, but can I please reiterate that the deadline is on Thursday and this place breaks for recess on Thursday? This is of the most urgent nature, and we need details on that as soon as possible.

The Chairs of the Transport Committee and the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee—this is my final question, Mr Speaker—have written to the Secretary of State today with a number of points, including stating:

“The Government should prosecute P&O Ferries and remove its licence to operate in the UK.”

What consideration is the Minister giving to this action, and to showing P&O that it cannot operate where it does not abide by the law?