A UK firm contracted to provide extra ferries in the event of a no-deal Brexit will only be paid if it runs "an effective service", the Department for Transport has told the BBC.
Seaborne Freight was awarded £13.8m recently to run a freight service between Ramsgate and Ostend.
Responding, Best for Britain champion Tim Farron MP has called for a select committee probe. He said:
"This takes the biscuit. Chris Grayling has picked a company, without tender, who don't have any ships to run a ferry service. Grayling is just a clown pretending to be a cabinet minister.
"What's even worse is that other companies will get the cash if this whole scheme doesn't come to pass but the British company wont.
"People thought Chris Grayling couldn't manage to cock up any more but yet he seems to make it his mission to confound everyone.
"We need a select committee to launch an inquiry into this scandal.
"How is this a good use of taxpayers money? No deal Brexit could be taken off the table now if the government wanted to do it. They are just using it as a scare tactic."
Notes to editors - If you use this quote please mention the Best for Britain campaign