Theresa May is due to hold talks in Paris about the continuing cross-Channel disruption caused by striking French ferry workers and the deepening crisis of migrants camped in Calais.
Cross-Channel ferry services have resumed but the main motorway to Dover remains closed and there were continuing delays at the port of Calais because of industrial action by French workers at MyFerryLink.
Thousands of lorry drivers were parked on the closed M20 for a fourth day as Kent police implemented phase four of Operation Stack, an emergency measure to hold lorries on both sides of the motorway in an effort to avoid gridlock.
The home secretary will meet her French counterpart, Bernard Cazeneuve, on Thursday after the UK Road Haulage Association called for the army to be sent in to break the strike.
Meanwhile, MPs in Kent are seeking an urgent meeting with the transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, about severe disruption on the county’s roads.
Helen Grant, the MP for Maidstone, said the group wanted a nationwide response. “We need a national procedure in place to prevent the confluence of lorries from all over the country creating a logjam in Kent every time there is disruption to Channel crossings,” she said. “This is a national problem, not a Kent problem, but it is Kent that takes it on the chin every time.”
On Wednesday evening P&O ferries resumed a limited service after the port of Calais began allowing one ferry at a time to enter the port. Officials in Dover said they still did not know when the strike would end.
The disruption began on Monday when MyFerryLink workers staged a wildcat strike in protest at expected job cuts. The Channel tunnel reopened on Tuesday afternoon following a three-hour shutdown.