• Northern Ireland – the Labour Party have demanded that the government makes a legally binding promise to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. Although both Britain and the EU wish to keep a free flow of goods and people over the Irish border without having to return to checkpoints, there have been no suggestions of a practical solution. Labour have suggested that they will propose a change to the Brexit legislation to ensure the government keeps its promises on Northern Ireland. The preferred solution is for a customs agreement allowing for as frictionless trade with the EU as possible, reducing the need for border check. Labour are seeking a formal customs union with the EU (Reuters).
  • Labour on final Brexit deal – Labour will have to vote for the final Brexit deal due to the risk of the crashing out of the EU with no agreement if it is rejected. The Shadow International Trade Secretary urged European Parliament members to consider voting for whatever agreement the prime minister makes, even if they do not like it – implying that Labour could do the same. This appears contrary to Labour’s official policy which is to vote against the deal unless six tests are met (The Independent).
  • Transition deal: unanswered questions for businesses – with a year to go until Brexit, more than half of large companies have put into place emergency contingency plans. The announcement of the transition deal last week has faced backlash, with “no legal certainty” instilled by the deal. There are still many unanswered questions on product standards, VAT, customs and immigration and businesses need guidance fast. For example, in the logistics sector, there is concern over the lack of progress in agreeing new systems for avoiding customs check, with the risk of delays and tailbacks at borders during peak times (The Guardian).