The transport secretary has said there is ‘no doubt’ Brexit will have contributed to Britain’s current fuel crisis.

Grant Shapps still insisted the ‘primary cause ‘of the shortages had been the cancellation of HGV driving tests last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But he admitted: ‘Brexit I hear mentioned a lot and it no doubt will have been a factor.

‘On the other hand, it has actually helped us to change rules to be able to test more drivers more quickly.

‘So, it has actually worked in both ways.’

He further suggested there are ‘tentative signs’ pressure on filling stations is starting to ease.

‘There are now the first very tentative signs of stabilisation in forecourt storage which won’t be reflected in the queues as yet,’ he said.

‘But it is the first time that we have seen more petrol actually in the petrol stations.

‘As the industry said yesterday, the sooner we can all return to our normal buying habits, the sooner the situation will return to normal.’

Mr Shapps defended criticisms that the Government has been slow to mobilise the Army to help ease the pressure.

‘There is a series of escalations that you go through in a crisis like this,’ he said.

‘We have already put 18 different steps in place which stretch right the way back to the spring.

‘The system was just about coping until last weekend and it would have been capable of continuing to do so.

‘Unfortunately, as we have seen with toilet rolls and other things, once people start to pursue a particular item, it can quickly escalate.

‘But there is only so much petrol you can transfer into tanks. That is starting to work its way through.’

He then condemned drivers who tried to fill up plastic water bottles with petrol as the panic buying continued.

‘It is dangerous and extremely unhelpful,’ he said.

This is a breaking news story, more to follow soon… Check back shortly for further updates.

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