The government’s Brexit ferry programme was “rushed and risky”, according to a cross-party group of MPs, who confirmed the botched project had cost £85m.

A procurement process to provide extra ferry services was held in anticipation of the UK leaving the EU on 29 March.

But MPs said taxpayers had “little to show” for the cost after the UK failed to leave the EU on that date and had to cancel deals reached with three firms.

The government defended the contracts, calling them an “insurance policy”.

The contracts had to be cancelled after the date for Britain to leave the EU was pushed back from 29 March to 31 October.

The Public Accounts Committee report confirmed that cancelling the contracts with Seaborne Freight, DFDS and Brittany Ferries had cost the

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