JEREMY Corbyn has branded Theresa May's Brexit strategy "costly, shambolic and deliberately evasive", telling MPs it was summed up by the fiasco surrounding Seaborne Freight, the ferry company with no ships and no trading history.

At a boisterous Prime Minister’s Questions, the Labour leader questioned how Mrs May could retain confidence in Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, in light of the collapse of the £13.8 million ferry contract with Seaborne Freight, which was supposed to provide additional cross-Channel services to ease disruption in the case of a no-deal withdrawal from the EU.

The PM explained how the Government had let three contracts; 90 per cent of which was let to DFDS and Brittany Ferries.

“Due diligence was carried out on all of these contracts,” she declared, stressing how the Government would ensure the transport capacity was there in the event of a no-deal outcome.

But Mr Corbyn called on Mrs May to correct the record, pointing out how Mr Grayling told MPs the decision to award the contract to Seaborne Freight had no cost to the taxpayer when the National Audit Office, the money watchdog, found £800,000 had been spent on external consultants to assess the bid.

The PM again stressed “proper due diligence” had been carried out when the contracts were let, which included third-party assessment of the companies bidding for the contracts.

The Labour leader told Mrs May he was really impressed by how she could keep a straight face while insisting due diligence had been carried out.

He explained how external advisers had described the contract with Seaborne Freight, a start-up company, as “high-risk”. Why, asked Mr Corbyn, in the circumstances did Mr Grayling proceed with the contract?

The Labour leader said the advisers were instructed to restrict their due diligence to the “face value of the presentation” made by Seaborne Freight, a company with no trading history and that a Freedom of Information request showed the Transport Secretary had “bypassed” normal procurement rules because a panel of experts was denied scrutiny of the deal.

But the PM hit back, pointing out how the contract was awarded “following commercial, technical and financial assurance at a level in line with the company’s status as a new entrant to the market,” carried out not only by senior department officials but also by experienced third-party organisations.

She also made clear “no money” was paid out to Seaborne Freight.

However, the Labour leader said the Transport Secretary had ignored warnings about drones regarding airport security, had given a £1.4 billion contract to Carillion despite warnings about their finances and had overseen the disastrous new rail timetable last year.

“How on earth can the Prime Minister say she has confidence in the Transport Secretary?” asked Mr Corbyn.

Mrs May insisted Mr Grayling was delivering the biggest rail investment programme since the Victorian era, spending nearly £48bn on improving the railways to deliver better journeys; 20 per cent higher on average every year than under a Labour Government.

She then attacked the Labour leader’s own approach to Brexit, saying voters still did not know if backed a second referendum, a deal or even Brexit.

The PM added: “He prefers ambiguity and playing politics to acting in the national interest. People used to say he was a conviction politician; not anymore.”