The rift between the government and the RHA over the predicted chaos at the port of Dover and on Kent roads in January showed no signs of healing this week, after cabinet minister Michael Gove accused the business group of not being constructive.

In response to a question from Hilary Benn, chair of the committee of the future relationship with the EU, to clarify what he meant about IT systems being in place, Gove told the House of Commons: “I have found that the Road Haulage Association, valuable organisation though it may be, has not always necessarily been quite the most constructive partner at every stage in the conversations that we have needed to have.”

Benn had asked why the government had said two crucial IT systems for processing paperwork at the port were in place and ready when the RHA was saying they were “absolutely not in operation”.

The industry has been heavily critical of the government’s warning last month that unless it got its paperwork in order, there would be queues 7,000 trucks long blocking roads in Kent.

Gove added: “I think it is the case that we are having conversations with them [the RHA] and others in order to ensure that these and other IT systems that we need for the end of the transition period are in place.”

In response, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett accused Gove of evading its questions.

In a tweet, he said: “We have been the most constructive partner to DfT, HMRC and BPDG [Border and Protocol Delivery Group] highlighting issues and gaps continuously in process.

“We have also suggested many constructive solutions.

“Mr Gove has chosen to not listen or indeed answer our questions.”