As Brexit draws ever closer, Henry Anderson runs down the latest key developments:
- Hard Labour: Labour inched ever-so slightly closer to the possibility of backing a second EU referendum at the party conference in Liverpool – the so-called “People’s Vote”. Delegates agreed the party would seek a public vote on Brexit – but only if Parliament rejects Theresa May’s deal and only after the party has tried to force a general election. There were also disagreementsover what the questions would be – and whether an option to remain would appear on the ballot paper. In his speech, Jeremy Corbyn was silent on the prospect of another referendum but committed Labour to voting against Theresa May’s Chequers proposals. He did indicate he would support a deal that satisfied the party’s six tests.
- Notice To Quit: The steady drip-feed of UK Government no deal Brexit notices continued. This week’s tranche of 24 documents covered areas such as vehicle insurance, pet passports, geographical indicators and aviation. Coach holidays, chemical exports and flights to Europe could be severely curtailed by a no deal Brexit, the notices suggested, while the Scottish Government warned that flights would be grounded unless the UK Government secured “dozens” of new bilateral agreements with separate countries.
- Please, Sir, I Want Some More: Research from the British Chambers of Commerce indicated these notices have not dampened businesses’ concerns. A survey found 21% of firms would cut investment in a no deal scenario, while 18% would reduce recruitment and 20% would shift some of their operations into the EU. Another report revealed one in ten firms could be bankrupted by a half hour delay at border control. Relatedly, it has been reported that the UK Government has appointed a Minister to oversee the maintenance of food supplies during Brexit – prompting Nicola Sturgeon to condemn the prospect of “food rationing in this country because of a Tory Brexit”.