Brexit deal will make UK safer, Priti Patel says

The post-Brexit deal will make the UK safer, Home Secretary Priti Patel says, despite concerns from police chiefs about a lack of access to data

She said the UK would be “more secure through firmer and fairer border controls” after 31 December.

The deal allows cooperation on security and policing, but Brussels said the UK will no longer have “direct, real-time access” to sensitive information.

This includes a major database on people and items such as stolen guns.

The UK-EU trade deal – a 1,246-page document which has been seen by the BBC but not published by the government – will be voted on in Parliament on 30 December, with the UK set to exit existing trade rules the next day.

In the run up to the UK’s separation from the European Union, police chiefs raised concerns about losing access to databases and the European Arrest Warrant.

Ms Patel said the UK would continue to be “one of the safest countries in the world” and she was “immensely proud” of the package agreed with the EU.

She said: “It means both sides have effective tools to tackle serious crime and terrorism, protecting the public and bringing criminals to justice.

“But we will also seize this historic opportunity to make the UK safer and more secure through firmer and fairer border controls.”

The Home Office said the post-Brexit agreement included streamlined extradition arrangements, fast and effective exchange of national DNA, fingerprint and vehicle registration data and continued transfers of Passenger Name Record data.

What happens next with Brexit?

From July 2021, the UK will receive advance data on goods arriving from the EU into Great Britain, something which was not previously possible under EU rules.

But the UK will lose access to the EU’s Schengen Information System II (SIS II) database of alerts about people and items such as stolen firearms and vehicles.

The EU has said it is legally impossible to offer SIS access to the UK.

Earlier this month Steve Rodhouse, director general of operations for the National Crime Agency, warned losing access to the database would mean alerts relating to around 400,000 investigations in European countries would disappear from the UK’s national computer on 31 December.

“Investigations could take longer, and it could mean that serious criminals are not held to account as quickly,” he said.

BBC home affairs correspondent Dominic Casciani while the agreement did appear to protect continued security and policing cooperation it “downgrades what British police can achieve – and how quickly”.

“As expected, the UK will have to unplug its connection to an enormous real-time database that shares alerts on wanted or missing people,” he said.

In November, National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for Brexit, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Martin told peers that while contingency plans were being made the loss of access to SIS was “still a capability gap and it will have a massive impact on us”.

He said his team had checked the system 603 million times last year.

Following the announcement of the deal, the NPCC said while it welcomed a deal between the UK and EU it was working with the government to “fully understand the detail of the security agreement and how it will be implemented, and ensure we are prepared for any changes to the way we currently operate”.

BBC Reality Check correspondent Chris Morris said while the UK has reached an agreement on extradition and will be able to sit in on meetings of Europol – the cross-border security agency – “on a par with the best other countries have achieved”, the speed at which the UK gets important data and the influence it has on decisions has been reduced.

Christmas decorator: It was unheard of in the UK

For Jilly Mattley, Christmas has always been a “truly magical” time.

As a mother-of-two, she said she was inspired by walks in the countryside with her children to deck their home with bows of holly each festive season.

And, in 2007, she launched a Christmas company inspired by her interest – which has seen her design festive decor for the homes of celebrities, including former England footballer Frank Lampard and actor Jude Law.

All-out festive festooning of homes – as epitomised in films like Home Alone – has long been popular in the US, Mrs Mattley said.

But, when she began her business, “people in the UK didn’t have a Christmas decorator – it was unheard of,” she said.

“Now the role has become more widely-known and sought-after. I’m much busier.”

She said she draws much of her inspiration from the natural world.

“I love harvesting and gathering natural materials,” said Mrs Mattley, from Measham in Leicestershire.

As a mum, she would take her two children – Hollie and Emily – on walks in the countryside to collect acorns, conkers, pinecones and holly.

“We enjoyed making garlands, wreaths, and tree and fireplace decorations. Christmas time was truly magical.”

She began her business at the age of 48 and now the 61-year-old has a team of around 20 helpers.

The style she cultivated in her own home is what, she said, appeals to many of her clients.

“The celebrities and sporting superstars including the Lampards were attracted to our natural designs and styles,” she said.

She said many clients favoured a “contemporary version of tradition”, including cinnamon, berries and glass baubles.

“I was really excited to decorate one home to look like a wintry forest of red berries,” she said. Another display featured a giant synthetic oak tree.

She said creating personalised decorations can be “challenging when a new idea comes along”.

“This year, the most extravagant display had lots of challenges and we had to use heavy machinery to achieve their vision,” she said.

“It was a modern home and we had to come up with inventive solutions to secure and display the decorations,” she said.

“The client wanted people to stop and be wowed and to bring joy to the area.”

She added: “A lot of effort goes into Christmas for the few weeks that it is.”

The designer said her daughters were “incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved”.

But the work she does for her customers hasn’t altered how she decorates her own home.

“Everyone thinks my home would be dressed from top to toe.

“My decorations haven’t changed. We enjoy our family traditions, the way we have always decorated our home with a beautiful tree, fireplace garland and a wreath.”

The company has also created displays for King’s College Cambridge, London jewellery store Bentley and Skinner, the Hilton Hotel at London Bridge and the luxury Belmond British Pullman train.

Bedfordshire flooding: More than 1,300 told to evacuate

More than 1,300 people have been urged to leave their homes as flood levels rise in Bedfordshire.

Police warned of a “really serious situation” and have contacted people living along the River Great Ouse.

Fire crews have been using boats to rescue people throughout Christmas Day. Nine people and three dogs were among those led to safety from Harold.

Supt Steve Ashdown said: “River levels are extremely high and we are expecting this to have a significant impact.”

Flood warnings have been issued for areas along the River Great Ouse by the Environment Agency.

At Bromham, near Bedford, the river was reported to be flowing at its highest recorded level.

“The fact this is happening on Christmas Day makes the situation even worse, especially after the disruption so many of us have had to our plans already and I really do sympathise with people,” Supt Ashdown, of Bedfordshire Police, said.

“But this is a really serious situation and we need people to take action in order to keep themselves safe.”

Emergency assistance centres have been set up at Bedford International Athletic Stadium and Bromham Village Hall for those with nowhere else to go.

Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson said the floods were set to be the worst seen in Bedfordshire for several years.

“The Environment Agency is expecting this to be the highest level of flooding seen in Bedford borough in a number of years and, working with partners, we are strongly encouraging people who are at risk of flooding and have been contacted to leave if they can do so safely,” he said.

In a tweet, he praised council staff and emergency services who are “working hard to protect residents”.

The council said people who had been contacted and asked to evacuate were “permitted to go to other people’s homes”.

Bedfordshire is currently under “tier four – stay at home” Covid restrictions which bans household mixing.

Bedfordshire Police said the flooding situation “over-rides the current Covid-19 regulations”.

Before leaving their homes, people were being urged to turn off gas, water and electricity and move any valuables upstairs.

The county was hit by heavy rainfall on Christmas Eve that saw many roads left under water.

Covid: Post-exposure antibody protection trialled

Ten people have been given antibodies as a form of emergency protection after being exposed to coronavirus, in the first trial of its kind.

The experimental jab is being offered to people who have been in close contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case within the past eight days.

If it proves effective, it could protect vulnerable people who haven’t yet been, or can’t be, vaccinated.

And it could help to contain outbreaks.

The trial, run at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Trust, is looking at whether an injection of two different antibodies could prevent someone who has been exposed to Covid from developing the disease – or at least from becoming very ill.

Vaccines take weeks to offer full protection, meaning it’s too late for them to be given once someone already has the virus brewing in their system.

But this monoclonal antibody treatment, developed by the drugs company AstraZeneca, should work to neutralise the virus immediately.

And it gives ongoing protection for up to a year.

It could mean healthcare workers, hospital patients and care home residents could be given the treatment if they have been exposed to a known Covid case.

It could be offered to people with health vulnerabilities by their GPs.

And it could be used to prevent one or two cases turning into an outbreak in settings like student accommodation.

The team, lead by UCLH virologist Dr Catherine Houlihan, wants to recruit 1,000 volunteers.

They are targeting recruitment at areas where people are likely to have been exposed including hospitals and student accommodation.

People wanting to take part will have to show their close contact has tested positive.

The jab works by “donating” antibodies, Dr Houlihan said – “it skips out that stage of your body doing the work” to make them.

“We know that this antibody combination can neutralise the virus, so we hope to find that giving this treatment via injection can lead to immediate protection against the development of Covid-19 in people who have been exposed – when it would be too late to offer a vaccine.”

She explained this technique was already used post-exposure for other viruses like rabies, and chickenpox in pregnant people.

Another trial already underway at UCLH is looking at whether the same antibody treatment could be used before someone is exposed coronavirus, to prevent them ever catching it.

This could be particularly useful for people who have immune deficiencies or are going through immune-suppressing treatment like chemotherapy.

Infectious diseases consultant Dr Nicky Clarke, who is running the pre-exposure trial, said it was being trialled on people with conditions like cancer and HIV which “may affect the ability of their immune system to respond to a vaccine.

“We want to reassure anyone for whom a vaccine may not work that we can offer an alternative which is just as protective.”

It might also be useful to protect vulnerable people as a stopgap before they can be given a vaccine, Dr Houlihan confirmed.

But she said it was not being suggested as an alternative to the vaccine. And it’s also likely to cost considerably more, at hundreds of pounds a dose.

Along with UCLH, the antibody treatment will be trialled at multiple sites in the US as well as in Wakefield, Manchester, Southampton and Hull.

But only the London site has begun recruiting and jabbing people.

The first results for both arms of the trial – using antibodies before and after exposure to Covid – are expected in the spring.

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Covid in Scotland: More than 1,000 new cases as rules relaxed

Covid measures across Scotland have been relaxed to enable people to meet indoors for Christmas.

Bubbles can be formed with other households and travel restrictions have eased for 24 hours from 00:01.

The original plans to ease restrictions for five days were scrapped following the emergence of a faster-spreading strain of coronavirus.

The toughest level four rules will come into effect across mainland Scotland from Boxing Day.

The relaxed rules came into effect as 1,165 people tested positive for the virus in the previous 24 hours.

Figures for deaths, hospital admissions and intensive care cases will be updated on 29 December.

Nicola Sturgeon has warned that level four measures could be further strengthened in a March-style lockdown.

By law a maximum of eight people from three households can meet up – although fewer numbers are recommended and people are encouraged to keep a distance of 2m (6ft 6in) away from those outside their own household.

Those in a bubble can only gather in a private home, outdoors or at a place of worship – but should minimise the length of time spent with the bubble, especially indoors.

People can travel anywhere in Scotland to meet family and friends, but they should not go anywhere else in the UK, unless in exceptional circumstances.

Once level four restrictions are applied, all bars, restaurants and non-essential shops will have to close.

The government is to narrow the definition of “essential retail” – forcing homeware shops and garden centres to close – while guidance urging people to stay at home as much as possible may be put down in law.

People should not travel outside their local authority area at this point and a ban on travel to the rest of the UK will apply over the festive period.

Schools are to stay closed until 11 January, and most pupils will learn from home until at least 18 January – a situation the first minister said would remain “under review”.

The government is also examining whether the current level four measures will be enough to contain the new strain of the virus, which studies suggest can spread up to 70% faster than previous variants.

Nicola Sturgeon said a decision on whether this was necessary would be taken as more evidence about the new variant became available.

A report published by the Office for National Statistics on Christmas Eve suggested the number of people with Covid in Scotland has dropped, but the new strain was responsible for 38% of positive cases.

In her Christmas message, the first minister thanked the emergency services and armed forces who will be working on 25 December, mentioning health and care workers in particular for their efforts over the last year.

She urged people to continue “keeping a distance”, acknowledging the difficulties faced by those who will spend Christmas alone.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard also thanked key workers and offered his condolences to those who had lost a friend or family member “during this most difficult year”.

Douglas Ross, the Scottish Conservative leader, said “forsaking Christmas Day hugs and big family meals this year are for the greater good”.

The Scottish Greens’ co-leader Patrick Harvie referred to the new vaccine, saying “there is light at the end of the tunnel”.

And Willie Rennie, who leads the Scottish Liberal Democrats, said: “For many it’s not the Christmas they had hoped for, but the end of this crisis is in sight and we must all do what we can to get us there safely.”

LadBaby bags third straight Christmas number one

LadBaby has become only the third act in UK chart history, after The Beatles and the Spice Girls, to score three straight Christmas number one singles.

The charitable sausage roll singer fended off competition from a Mariah Carey classic, and a protest song about Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Sir Paul McCartney, meanwhile, topped the festive album chart, on Friday.

“I can’t believe we’ve done it once, never mind three times,” LadBaby told BBC Radio 1 presenter Katie Thistleton.

His latest offering, Don’t Stop Me Eatin’, which is raising money for The Trussell Trust food bank charity, was a pastry take on Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’.

It followed his previous successful efforts, 2018’s We Built This City… On Sausage Rolls; and I Love Sausage Rolls, from last year.

“We know the British public love a sausage roll,” the hat-trick hero continued.

“And I think after the year we’ve all had we just wanted to come back and make everyone smile.”

His new song, which was helped along by the release of a surprise alternative version with Ronan Keating earlier this week, became the fastest selling UK single in more than three years, since Artists For Grenfell’s Bridge Over Troubled Water.

It also dislodged Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You at the summit.

The diva’s ubiquitous hit had reigned supreme for the past fortnight, remarkably for the first time since its release 26 years ago.

LadBaby now finds himself in exalted company, alongside The Beatles, who dominated the Christmas number one spots between 1963-65, with I Want To Hold Your Hand, I Feel Fine, and the double A-side Daytripper / We Can Work It Out.

As well as the Spice Girls, who had three in a row from 1996-98, with 2 Become 1, Too Much, and Goodbye.

YouTube comedian LadBaby, whose real name is Mark Hoyle, described 2020 as “our most important year yet” to help people, due to the impact of coronavirus.

He spoke to BBC News last week about why he and his band – aka wife Roxanne and their children – changed their minds after previously saying they wouldn’t go for a third. “We’d run out of songs with rock ‘n’ roll in the title, because that’s been our go-to – you find a song with rock ‘n’ roll in the title and it’s a good change [to sausage roll],” he said.

“We wanted to choose a song that people love and can sing to,” he continued. “The best way is to look at karaoke songs, and Don’t Stop Believin’ always features highly on most karaoke lists.

“We felt like after the year everyone’s had, it’s a sentiment everyone needs – don’t stop believing things are going to get better. It felt very fitting, so we had to weave some sausage roll magic into the lyrics.”

Christmas 2020 UK top five singles

Christmas 2020 UK top five albums

Elsewhere in the singles chart, an expletive-laden song about PM Boris Johnson, by an Essex synth-pop outfit (whose name we can’t really mention here without losing our jobs) also made the festive top five; and was at one-point the UK’s second most-downloaded song of the week.

Justin Bieber’s cover of Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree [number eight] and Liam Gallagher’s All You’re Dreaming Of [24], which raised money for Action for Children, also proved popular this year.

McCartney III, the “fun” lockdown album by former Beatle Sir Paul, gave him his first number one LP in 31 years – since 1989’s Flowers In The Dirt.

“I just want to say happy Christmas, happy New Year, and a big thank you to everyone who helped get my record to number one in the album charts,” the rock ‘n’ roll knight of the realm told the Official Charts Company.

Taylor Swift’s surprise new album, Evermore, was close behind him in second.

Also on Christmas Day, it was announced by music licensing company PPL that The Pogues’ widely-debated track, Fairytale Of New York was officially the UK’s most-played Christmas track of the 21st Century.

Last month, Radio 1 decided to stop playing the original version of the song in full, because its audience may be offended by some of the lyrics.

(The track, which features the late Kirsty MacColl, finished sixth in this week’s official singles chart, as one of 26 Christmas songs in the top 40.)

All I Want For Christmas Is You had to settle for second place once again in that poll of the past 20 years, while Wham!’s Last Christmas finished third overall – just as it did in this week’s singles chart too.

You can listen to Radio 1’s Christmas No.1 show, and Radio 2’s 40 Most-Played Christmas Songs of the 21st Century now on BBC Sounds.

UK flooding: Nine people and three dogs rescued from floods in Harrold

Nine people and three dogs have been rescued from a flood-hit property on Christmas Day.

Fire crews used an inflatable boat to lead people to safety in Harrold, Bedfordshire, at 10:40 GMT.

Police warned it was a “really serious situation” and contacted more than 1,300 properties along the River Great Ouse urging them to evacuate.

Supt Steve Ashdown said: “River levels are extremely high and we are expecting this to have a significant impact.”

Two severe flood warnings and 18 flood warnings were issued for the area in and around Bedfordshire by the Environment Agency.

“The fact this is happening on Christmas Day makes the situation even worse, especially after the disruption so many of us have had to our plans already and I really do sympathise with people,” Supt Ashdown said.

“But this is a really serious situation and we need people to take action in order to keep themselves safe.”

The county was hit by heavy rainfall on Christmas Eve that saw many roads left under water.

Bedford Mayor Dave Hodgson said: “We have seen terrible flooding and my thoughts go all those caught up in this.”

He praised council staff and emergency services who are “working hard to protect residents”.

Brexit: EU diplomats get trade deal briefing

EU ambassadors are receiving a Christmas Day briefing on the post-Brexit trade deal reached with the UK.

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier is updating diplomats on the agreement, reached after months of fraught talks on fishing rights and business rules.

MPs will vote on the deal in Parliament on 30 December, with the UK set to exit existing trading rules on 31 December.

The 1,246-page document, which includes about 800 pages of annexes and footnotes, has been seen by the BBC.

Labour said it was a “thin agreement” but they would back it as the only alternative to no deal, meaning it should win approval.

The European Parliament needs to ratify the deal but it is unlikely to do so until the new year, meaning its application will formally be provisional until then.

A 34-page summary of the deal has been published on the government’s website, but not the complete text.

In a Christmas video message, posted on Twitter on Thursday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson brandished a draft copy of the document.

He said: “Tonight, on Christmas Eve, I have a small present for anyone who may be looking for something to read in that sleepy post-Christmas lunch moment, and here it is, tidings, glad tidings of great joy because this is a deal.

“A deal to give certainty to business, travellers, and all investors in our country from January 1. A deal with our friends and partners in the EU.”

Speaking in Brussels after the deal was announced, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described it as “fair” and “balanced”, saying it was now “time to turn the page and look to the future”. The UK “remains a trusted partner,” she added.

Struck four and a half years after the UK voted to leave the EU, the deal will define the future relationship for decades.

Goods will continue to be traded free of tariffs and quotas and there will be independent arbitration to resolve future disputes.

It will mean big changes for business, with the UK and EU forming two separate markets, and the end of free movement.

But it will have come as a major relief to many British businesses, already reeling from the impact of coronavirus, who feared disruption at the borders and the imposition of tariffs, or taxes on imports.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer – who campaigned against Brexit – said the deal did not provide adequate protections for jobs, manufacturing, financial services or workplace rights and was “not the deal the government promised”.

But with no time left to renegotiate, the only choice was between “this deal or no deal,” he added.

Ed Davey, leader of the Liberal Democrats, said his party needed to see the full text, but would not support a “bad deal”.

Parliament will sit on 30 December to vote on the trade deal.

Dr Joelle Grogan, senior lecturer in law at Middlesex University London, told BBC News: “To put this in real context, if I spend the next five days before Parliament is recalled on Wednesday spending 10 hours a day just reading that document, I will have a maximum of two minutes and 30 seconds to fully understand, analyse and comment on it.”

“The clock is no longer ticking.”

These were pretty much the first words out of the mouth of the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, as he announced the just sealed EU-UK trade and security agreement on Thursday.

No more looming “no-deal” threats; no more almost painful uncertainty about future relations across the Channel. This was a historic moment.

A fair and balanced deal for both sides, said the European Commission.

But you’d have to have been half-asleep (or halfway through a bottle of eggnog, cava or pint of Gl├╝hwein) to miss the stark difference in tone between UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s triumphalist announcement on Thursday afternoon and the sombre statement by the European Commission.

Read more from Katya.

At a press conference on Thursday, Mr Johnson said the agreement would “protect jobs across this country”.

He said the UK had not got all it wanted on financial services, a vital part of the UK economy, but insisted the deal was “nonetheless going to enable our dynamic City of London to get on and prosper as never before”.

What happens next with Brexit?

The prime minister also acknowledged he had been forced to give ground on his demands on fishing.

Fishing makes up 0.12% of the UK’s economy but the negotiations went down to the wire over what EU boats were allowed to catch in UK waters.

In future, 25% of EU boats’ fishing rights in UK waters will be transferred to the UK fishing fleet, over a period of five-and-a-half years.

Barrie Deas, the head of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, said “significant concessions” meant there would be “a lot of disappointed and frustrated fishermen”.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said fishing got a “bad deal”, adding: “Brexit is happening against Scotland’s will… It’s time to chart our own future as an independent, European nation.”

Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford said a deal was better than no deal but said it was “thin” and not what Wales was promised.

The deal also means that, except for Northern Ireland, the UK will no longer participate in the Erasmus student exchange scheme. Mr Johnson said it was being replaced with the Turing Scheme, which will include universities outside the EU.

In another development following the deal announcement, the UK Mission to the EU said people with a driving licence issued in the UK would not need to use an International Drivers Licence in the EU, and that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) would be replaced by a similar scheme. Current EHIC cards will remain valid until their expiry date.

UK flooding: Bungay and Wainford homes evacuated and leisure centre shut

Homes have been evacuated and a leisure centre shut after flooding in Suffolk.

Some people were asked to leave properties in Bungay and Wainford late on Christmas Eve.

Police said Staithe Road, in Bungay was closed on Christmas Day, while the town’s leisure centre has also been affected by flooding.

Officers praised residents in the affected areas for the “compassion” shown to officers while they were being told to leave their homes.

Suffolk Fire Service declared a “major incident” in Bungay.

In a tweet on Christmas Eve, it said: “Firefighters, police and council staff are currently in Bungay and Wainford managing flooding caused by heavy rainfall. Some properties evacuated and residents being supported.”

It said the incident has since been “scaled down”.

Suffolk was hit by heavy rain on Christmas Eve, which was followed by snow in some parts of the county on Christmas Day.

The Met Office said snow flakes had fallen in Wattisham on Christmas morning.

The Environment Agency tweeted pictures of flooding around Rattlesden River, near Stowmarket, on Christmas Eve to highlight the impact of the heavy rain.

Flood warnings remain in place for six parts of the county.

Kent lorry chaos: Thousands of lorry drivers spend Christmas in cabs

Thousands of lorry drivers waiting to cross the English Channel to France are spending Christmas Day in their cabs in Kent.

Hundreds of military personnel have been deployed to help clear the backlog of about 5,000 lorries, which are waiting at Manston Airport.

Drivers are allowed to travel on the condition they test negative for Covid-19 before boarding a train or ferry.

Traffic has started moving through the Port of Dover.

France closed its border after the UK warned of a fast-spreading variant of coronavirus but ended its ban on Wednesday, providing people tested negative before travelling.

More than 700 hauliers have been cleared for departure since France reopened its border.

But about 5,000 remain unable to get home and are waiting at Manston Airport, on a closed section of the M20, and in Dover.

French firefighters have been supporting the testing effort, and a group of Polish medics was deployed to the UK on Thursday to help test drivers. the Polish news website TVN24 has reported.

Some lorry drivers have already spent nearly a week stranded following the closure of the border on Sunday.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We need to get the situation in Kent, caused by the French government’s sudden imposition of Covid restrictions, resolved as soon as possible.

“I know it’s been hard for many drivers cooped up in their cabs at this precious time of year, but I assure them that we are doing our utmost to get them home.”

The Department for Transport (DfT) said all but three of the 2,367 coronavirus tests carried out on the lorry drivers had come back negative.

The government said catering vans were providing hot food and drinks to stranded hauliers at Manston, with Kent Council and volunteer groups providing refreshments to those stuck on the M20.

Southeastern Railway and Network Rail arranged for food to be delivered to lorry drivers stuck in Operation Stack on the M20.

Seven trains carrying crates of food for the hauliers have left London in the past 48 hours, with the Salvation Army distributing the items.

There are more than 250 toilets at Manston, with a further 32 portable toilets added to existing facilities already along the M20.

A Port of Dover spokesman said ferry services had run throughout Christmas Eve night and would continue on Christmas Day to help ease congestion.

Duncan Buchanan, from the Road Haulage Association, said: “The most reassuring thing is that food is getting through at Manston, and I have to say a big thank you to everyone who volunteered to help.”