Sir Keir Starmer blames fuel 'chaos' on Boris Johnson's 'failure to prepare for Brexit consequences'

ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston questions Keir Starmer about the fuel crisis and asks how big a role Brexit has played in the chaos seen at forecourts across the country

Sir Keir Starmer has blamed the UK's fuel crisis on Boris Johnson, saying the prime minister failed to prepare for the consequences of Brexit.

The Labour leader said Mr Johnson's government has "reduced the country to chaos" over fuel shortages - as drivers around the country queue for hours in a desperate bid to refuel their vehicles before petrol pumps run dry.

While there is no shortage of fuel at refineries in the UK, suppliers have been facing serious distribution issues, with not enough Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers available to deliver it at quick enough rates, meaning many petrol stations have been forced to close.

'The PM has completely lost grip': Starmer blames Johnson for fuel 'chaos'

Sir Keir blamed a "failure of planning" by the prime minister, saying it was a "predictable" problem that ministers should have started working on as soon as the UK left the EU.

In an interview with ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston, he said: "Once the decision had been taken to exit the EU, then it was obvious that we needed to deal with the consequences.

"One of which was there would be consequences in relation to lorry drivers.

"We took that decision in 2016 - it’s five years later and whether you voted leave or remain you’ve got to deal with the consequences and the government has simply put its head in the sand."

Sir Keir said the prime minister had "completely lost grip" on the situation as he urged the government to tell petrol stations that key workers must be prioritised for fuel, after reports that long queues had stopped health workers from arriving at work on time.

He said one solution was to "ensure there are enough visas for lorry drivers to get our country moving again", suggesting that the temporary relaxation of immigration rules for 5,000 European HGV operators was not enough.

The Labour leader was speaking to broadcasters during his party's conference in Brighton, much of which has been blighted by infighting, with the resignation of Andy McDonald from the shadow cabinet.

Angela Rayner also caused a storm by labelling senior Tories a "piece of scum" - comments Sir Keir has distanced himself but refused to condemn.

'Keir Starmer, in one sentence, who are you?'

On Wednesday, Sir Keir will outline to party members his plan to take Labour into the next generation, a speech which has been billed as the most important of his life.

He would not reveal the content of his speech, but, asked to outline in one sentence who he his, the Labour leader said: "I am someone utterly focused on the core thing that matter to working families.

"They are a decent education for your children.

"A decent job that is near home that is high paid, high skilled and has security.

"A health service if you fall ill, and security whether that’s at the home - a place that you can actually afford to live or in our streets, with the anti-social behaviour actually coming down rather than spiralling under this government."