James O'Brien reacts as ex-Brexit Secretary blames driver shortage on industry

4 October 2021, 14:01

By Fiona Jones

This is the moment James O'Brien reacts to former Brexit Secretary David Davis telling LBC that the haulage industry's failure to act has led to post-Brexit tanker and HGV driver shortages.

This shortage has led to 200 Army personnel being deployed to deliver fuel to filling station forecourts across the country from today.

Large companies such as Tesco also warned last week that the labour crunch could lead to empty supermarket shelves and panic buying in the lead-up to Christmas.

Business leaders and ministers have blamed Brexit for this shortage, with as many as 1.3 million overseas nationals leaving the UK between July 2019 and September 2020 - however Tory MP David Davis did not concur.

He told LBC's Nick Ferrari: "What went wrong were a number of things, firstly the industry itself didn't pay attention early enough. I used to run a transport company...they didn't do their own work and train their own drivers.

"The Government didn't do enough to push them either, bluntly, we knew this was a problem. We were hoping it wouldn't be but we thought it might be a problem for Brexit, so what have they been doing since?"

James reflected, "I know what you're thinking, you're thinking: crikey, he's the bloke that told us there'd be no downside at all to Brexit, there would only be a considerable upside.

"How can he now be saying that we should've known there was a massive labour shortage on the horizon and cut our cloth accordingly?"

He questioned how David Davis could move "from one position to the other so effortlessly."

James invited business owners to call in and submit a response to David Davis who says "it's your fault you have no labour."

Around 200 military personnel - half of whom are drivers - are being deployed despite ministers insisting the situation at the pumps is easing, with the operation initially targeting London and the South East, where the worst fuel shortages remain.

Speaking to LBC this morning, chancellor Rishi Sunak said the measure was an "extra precaution" and insisted the situation is "improving". However, he refused to guarantee the crisis would be over by the end of the week.

As well as an estimated shortfall of 100,000 HGV drivers, businesses from meat producers to retail have warned of empty shelves if the shortages are not addressed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson repeatedly refused to rule out shortages in the wider economy in the run up to Christmas, and acknowledged the country was going through a "period of adjustment" following Brexit, which has cut off the supply of labour from the EU.

He insisted that he was not prepared to resolve the situation by pulling "the big lever marked uncontrolled immigration" to let in more foreign workers.

He said firms should ensure their employees were "decently paid" if they wanted to get more staff.

Trump fan hangs up after being asked question by James O'Brien

Best of 2021: Trump fan hangs up after being asked question by James O'Brien

James O'Brien reaction to PM's decision to delay Covid measures

James O'Brien reaction to PM's decision to delay Covid measures

James O'Brien: 'It's not a flipping work meeting, it's a flipping party'

James O'Brien: 'It's not a flipping work meeting, it's a flipping party'

Tory MPs 'suddenly all hate' PM for Covid rules, James O'Brien explains

Tory MPs 'suddenly all hate' PM for Covid rules, James O'Brien explains

Call on Nazi comparisons to Covid measures that left James O'Brien reeling

The call on Nazi comparisons to Covid measures that left James O'Brien reeling

James O'Brien's clinical analysis of No10 double standards

James O'Brien's clinical takedown of No10 double standards

James O'Brien's powerful response to No10 aides joking about Christmas party

James O'Brien's powerful response to No10 aides joking about Christmas party

Mina Smallman speaks to James O'Brien | Watch again

Mina Smallman speaks to James O'Brien | Watch again

Mina Smallman spoke to James O'Brien and told of her 'disgust' at the crimes committed by police

'Jailing police for sharing pictures of my murdered daughters will change the culture'

James O’Brien is recording his podcast live on stage to raise money for LBC’s charity Global’s Make Some Noise.

James O’Brien Full Disclosure Live with Sir Keir Starmer

Exclusive
Matt Hancock's pub landlord tells LBC he made 'zero profit' from PPE deal

Matt Hancock's pub landlord tells LBC he made 'zero profit' from PPE deal

James O’Brien criticises Tory MP for blaming women for men’s crimes

James O'Brien takes aim at Tory MP for 'blaming women for men committing crimes'

Fishermen blocked RNLI boat rescuing migrants, caller tells James O'Brien

RNLI confirms fishermen 'who didn't want migrants being rescued' blocked crew from going to help

Stella Creasy told James O'Brien people could be deterred from politics

MP barred from bringing baby to Commons hits out at 'system built for men'

The call on mental health James O'Brien vows to never forget

The call on mental health James O'Brien vows to never forget

Covid contract scandal: Revelations 'scratch the surface' of saga

Covid contract scandal: Revelations 'just scratch the surface' of saga