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Brexit in Brief

Henry Anderson

Amid reports the Government is planning to stockpile food and medicine for after Brexit, here at newdirect we’ve been focusing on the essentials – our weekly roundup of Brexit developments:

  • Jeremy Hunt's Japanese European charm offensive. In addition to making amends for his well-documented gaffe in China, he found the time to warn European Commission intransigence could mean “No Deal by accident”. The former Health Secretary called on the German and French governments to pressure the Commission to take a more “pragmatic” approach to negotiations instead of waiting for the UK to blink first. In his words, “it takes two to tango”. His advice might be helpful for Theresa May, ahead of her meeting with President Macron on Friday, as polling shows 78% think the Government is handling Brexit badly.
  • MPs might be on recess, but committee clerks are still working hard. This week saw the publication of a report on devolution, which was critical of the UK Government’s lack of engagement with its Scottish counterpart over Brexit legislation. The Committee also called for “considerable ambiguity” around the Sewel Convention to be clarified and for a coherent policy on post-Brexit UK-wide regulations. Elsewhere, Yvette Cooper’s Home Affairs Committee said the Government had made no attempt to build consensus on immigration reform, branding this a “regrettable missed opportunity” that risked a “rushed and highly politicised debate”.
  • More news of the impending apocalypse. The week began with the Government denying reports that the Army would be used to maintain food and medical supplies after Brexit. Sky News also revealed local authorities had been undertaking their own impact assessments. One local authority claimed there was a risk of social unrest, while others said disruption at Dover could lead to a 13-mile stretch of the M20 being converted into a lorry park for “many years”. In Scotland, Shetland council said a drop in agricultural prices could lead to 86% of sheep farms becoming unprofitable. Cheery stuff.
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