Blog: Brexit gridlock could force Kent NHS staff to sleep in hospitals – The Guardian

Health service staff in Kent may have to sleep in hospitals, clinics and nursing homes if a no-deal Brexit ends up causing traffic chaos across the county, NHS board papers reveal.

Kent Community Health NHS trust is exploring the option of personnel staying overnight in its premises as part of its contingency planning for the UK’s departure from the EU on 29 March. It fears the disruption could last for up to six months with its staff, services and ability to deliver care badly hit if a no-deal exit leads to Kent being snarled up by traffic. It follows serious concern that the area around Dover could become gridlocked with lorries facing long delays as they wait to cross the Channel to France.

The trust is worried that it may also have to call in voluntary groups to help it care for and transport patients, and ask staff to work at the trust facility nearest their home rather than their usual place of work. It is also facing the possibility of having to rely on unspecified “alternative methods of communication” and “alternative methods of travel” if it proves difficult to get around Kent after 29 March.

“We are planning for all eventualities because we have a duty of care [to patients],” one trust official said.

The plans are set out in a paper discussed at a recent meeting of the board of the trust, which employs 5,000 staff and looks after a population of 1.4 million people. Its doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, dieticians and other health professionals care for patients in their own homes, nursing homes, community hospitals, health clinics, walk-in centres and mobile units.

The report to the board warns that: “The potential impact of Brexit on Kent’s roads could be significant. The police are planning for between three and six months of disruption to Kent roads. This has been the discussion of the Local Health Resilience Partnership over the last few months.”

The document says that work is ongoing to identify:

Staff’s closest base;

Alternative methods of travel and their feasibility for specific services;

Alternative methods of communication;

Staff accommodation at bases;

Use of the voluntary sector;

Core service response.

The M26 motorway, between Sevenoaks and West Malling, may have to be closed as a result of traffic problems caused by a no-deal Brexit, the paper reveals.

The NHS Confederation, which represents NHS trusts, said Kent’s location meant the trust had to plan for lorry chaos in the county interrupting its operations.

“Everyone worries about how delays and disruptions at British ports might affect delivery of healthcare, but they are usually thinking about the impact on receiving medicines and devices,” said Layla McCay, its director of international relations.

“NHS trusts located near these ports have extra worries. We can’t yet know the extent to which queuing lorries might cause travel disruptions for staff getting to work, or to see patients. NHS trusts in places like Kent are having to take these extra considerations on board in their contingency planning in case of a no-deal Brexit.”

Saffron Cordery, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, said staff may have to sleep at their workplaces, as some did last year amid heavy snow in February and March.

“The NHS continually assesses the risks of many different scenarios, for example extreme winter weather, and has to have robust business continuity and emergency plans in place to ensure they can continue to provide services and care for patients.

“These plans will inevitably include how staff will travel to and from work and between sites and accommodation in the rare event that they may need to stay on site.”

Source: “brexit” – Google News

Blog: Brexit Republic: Episode Twenty Five –

Brexit Republic Episode Twenty Five

Download the podcast here

After defending the Withdrawal Agreement as the only deal on the table, UK Prime Minister Theresa May turned against it, directing MP’s to vote for it to be amended.

The wounds of her Conservative Party may have been temporarily salved, but the gulf between the UK and EU positions has widened. 

There is no room to renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement, no appetite to pile pressure on Ireland and no viable alternative coming from the UK, says the EU.

But Mrs May is still determined to ask for change. 

RTÉ’s Deputy Foreign Editor Colm Ó Mongáin and Europe Editor Tony Connelly look at the rubber on the road from the week of donut U-Turns.


Professor Drew Scott, University of Edinburgh

Click here for the full series

Source: “brexit” – Google News

Blog: Iain Duncan-Smith speaks out about CRUCIAL Brexit meeting with Theresa May’s right hand – Express

Speaking on BBC Politics Live, the former Conservative leader claimed to have presented the Prime Minister with the same plan he presented EU negotiator Michel Barnier back in October 2018 that will allow the UK to leave the EU with a agreement that does not include the backstop provision. Mr Duncan-Smith claimed the Government will decide in the next 48hours whether to implement his plan and go back to Brussels to negotiate the new terms. 

He said: “I thought it was a very useful first proper engagement because Mr Robbins was there.

“We had other elements of the Government team for the first time listening around the table as well.

“Now, I have to caveat this by saying that the particular issue I was in to talk about was what I had been in to see Mr Barnier and Sabine Wayand back in October with a team including customs experts from Holland.

“Their knowledge of how customs work, what has to be done and what could be done, is critical. They’re part of our team, they weren’t there today but they will come in shortly.

“And the key thing is our proposal, which we put at the time to Mr Barnier when we drafted at his request a trade protocol to go alongside it, was the alternative to the existing backstop that gave open borders and no infrastructure but did not lock us in to all the other elements that were in the existing backstop.

“And we were in talking to the Prime Minister about that today.”

He added: “It was a very good engagement.

“I’ve already been, since then, talking to Government officials, it’s just that up to this particular point this has not been the Government’s position.

“So now we’re thrashing this out over the next 48 hours whether or not this should become – as I think it should do – the Government’s position to get back there because they’re already aware of this in Europe.

“This is not something new.”

It comes as Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union could be delayed to enable the Government to pass crucial legislation if a  deal is not agreed until late March, the Foreign Secretary has warned.

Jeremy Hunt said it was “difficult to know” if negotiations with Brussels would run until the 11th hour, but confirmed that “extra time” may be needed to pass laws.

But Downing Street insisted Theresa May remained “determined” to ensure that all the necessary arrangements would be in place for the UK to leave on March 29.

Source: “brexit” – Google News

Blog: Gloucestershire’s Renishaw stockpiling ahead of Brexit – BBC News

An image of engineering

Image caption

The company has a Brexit steering group which assesses the potential impact on the group

An engineering firm in Gloucestershire says it is stockpiling products ahead of Brexit.

Renishaw, based in Wotton-under-Edge, is in the process of creating a distribution warehouse in Ireland.

Stockpiling goods in Ireland would mean avoiding any potential trade tariffs after the UK leaves the EU.

Renishaw, which currently employs almost 2,500 people at its five sites in the county, said it was assessing the potential impact of Brexit.

The Brexit risks identified include uncertainty over growth, inflation and currency rates, changes to UK and EU-based law and regulation over product approvals, patents and import/export tariffs.

It said it was also considering the availability of talent in the workforce, potential changes in customer buying patterns and delays in customs and border clearances.

In the company’s interim report for 2019, it states: “With a strong direct presence in the EU, the board believes Renishaw is well placed to respond to changes to future trading arrangements between the EU and the UK.

Source: “brexit” – Google News

Blog: Brexit: New Zealand farmers will weather the fall out –

ANALYSIS: The European Union and the United Kingdom are grappling with looming deadlines for Brexit and looking to seal a deal that will hopefully buffer the UK’s exit.

From an exporter’s point of view, the next few weeks will be crucial as we wait for some certainty over the terms of trade. Brexit is not only high stakes for the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU), but for New Zealand’s farmers and our dairy and red meat sectors.

The backlash on New Zealand? We should definitely be concerned about the potential to impact on our trade opportunities into these markets. And we should definitely oppose the splitting of existing quotas that have been proposed.

The EU has in place a series of “tariff rate quotas”, allowing in agricultural producers such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Latin American countries to export a certain amount of live animals, meat, dairy and other produce free of tariffs.

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Britain’s planned exit, however, means those quotas must be split between Britain and the 27 countries that will remain in the union.

There is also the potential for Brexit to disrupt existing dairy flows between the UK and the EU, and for that to have flow-on impacts on other markets.

Hard Brexit could mean a lot of product the UK would normally take might not be accepted.


There is also the potential for Brexit to disrupt existing dairy flows between the UK and EU and for that to have flow-on impacts on other markets.

British sheep meat producers export around 65,000 tonnes to the EU every year. And if suddenly they face high tariffs to get in, their product will stay at home and then the problems will start. Farmers will likely say to us “send your lamb elsewhere  so we can sell domestically”.

Agriculture and wine are the lions’ share of Kiwi product sold in the UK, and while there is potential for a bilateral free trade agreement in the event of a no-deal Brexit, there is still likely to be problems for our exporters. 

If a hard Brexit goes ahead then change is going to happen immediately. This will happen right at the time the meat industry is gearing up for its high sales period over Easter.

But New Zealand suffered a similar shock in the early 1970s to the one the UK will shortly go through, when overnight we lost preferential access to our most significant trading market. That market was Britain, of course, and the cause of its door closing was the UK’s joining of the European Economic Community (EEC).

Diane Bishop

If a hard Brexit goes ahead then change is going to happen immediately. This will happen right at the time the meat industry is gearing up for its high sales period over Easter.

 In 1961, when the UK first put its hand up to join the EEC, it took the vast majority of our agricultural products. But the UK’s membership of the ‘common agricultural policy’ (a system of subsidies paid to EU farmers) would out most of that bilateral trade, and New Zealand would be “ruined”, our then prime minister, Keith Holyoake, warned his British counterpart, Harold Macmillan.

But was the collapse in UK and New Zealand trade as bad as many feared?

Far from it, it turned out. Through some smart diplomacy, our government staged a trade policy coup. A free-trade deal with Australia, signed in 1965, gave a big lift to manufacturing exports. Having contracted access to the beef markets in Japan and the United States, food exports to those two countries took off.

The combined effect was that, by the time the UK actually joined the EEC in 1973, it took only 25 per cent of New Zealand’s goods exports. By 2007 it was 5 per cent.

With the UK committed to doing what it could to protect New Zealand ‘s interests during the joining process, the government and the EEC reached agreement in 1971 on a special deal for our butter, cheese and lamb – all vital parts of the national economy. The deal was for a limited period, but it softened the blow and gave us the time to diversify trade. We used that time to seal trade deals with China and South Korea.

Our government gained access to the UK and the EU markets through the World Trade Organisation, winning two crucial quotas for sheepmeat and beef that still stand today.

With the loss of our biggest trading partner in 1973, the government performed a full-scale strategic shift eastwards. Look where it struck trade deals: Japan, the US, China, South Korea. Economically, we became an Asia-Pacific country. These days, the states of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group, which include China and Australia, buy 72 per cent of our exports. Today, China is easily the biggest buyer of New Zealand goods.

With Brexit, the UK is turning its back on its neighbours, and on the most significant free trade area in the world, in the vague hope that it can strike bilateral deals with faraway countries that are comparatively difficult to trade with (including us, as it happens).

Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker said in a press release that both nations have committed to launching negotiations once the UK is in a position to do so. 


A slab of compressed lamb which will be sliced thin for hot pots in China.

Short of the UK remaining in the EU a post-Brexit trade structure will need to be agreed.

Good thing that we have access to so many markets around the world. Regardless of what happens with Brexit, our products will find a home.

Source: “brexit” – Google News

Blog: Trudeau offers solidarity to Ireland as no-deal Brexit looms –

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) walks with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (L) during the Montreal Pride parade in Montreal, Canada August 20, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) walks with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (L) during the Montreal Pride parade in Montreal, Canada August 20, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

Kevin Doyle

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has offered his solidarity to Ireland as the Brexit crisis continues to edge towards a no-deal scenario.

Mr Trudeau discussed the situation with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during a phone call yesterday.

A note released by the Canadian leader’s offices suggests the conversation was much more cordial that one Mr Varadkar shared with British Prime Minister Theresa May around the same time.

The pair discussed a number of international events including the situation in Venezuela.

Mr Trudeau also alerted the Taoiseach to the case of two Canadian citizens who are currently under “arbitrary detention” in China and a third who is facing the death penalty.

Mr Varadkar then updated his counterpart on the situation regarding the UK’s reneging on backstop which is designed to prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland.

The Canadian Prime Minister’s office said: “The two leaders discussed the implications for Ireland of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal form the European Union.

“They agreed on the fundamental importance of protecting the Good Friday Agreement for the peace process in Northern Ireland, and recalled Canada’s role in achieving the Agreement.”

Online Editors

Source: “brexit” – Google News

Blog: MP says ‘end is in sight’ for Brexit negotiations – NW Evening Mail

AN MP has said “the end is in sight” for the Brexit negotiations following a number of key votes in Parliament this week.

Trudy Harrison, the MP for Copeland, made the statement after she joined south Cumbrian MPs John Woodcock and Tim Farron in passing through the voting lobbies on Tuesday.

A number of seven key amendments were tabled to alter the Government EU withdrawal agreement, with many MPs hoping to remove the prospect of a “no deal” exit from the European Union.

Parliamentarians also voted in favour of agreeing to support the agreement if Theresa May could convince EU leaders to change their minds on the Irish backstop.

Independent Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock and the South Lakes Lib Dem Tim Farron had identical voting records, backing a delay to Brexit to ensure a deal was in place.

They also voted against an amendment by Conservative MP Sir Graham Brady to call for Parliament to require the backstop was replaced with “alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border” with Ireland – the only one Mrs Harrison voted in favour of.

She said: “The end is in sight, politicians are finally coming together, the ball is in the EU’s court and the clock is ticking with increasing pressure.”

Tim Farron accused the Government of putting “party before country” by rejecting the other amendments.

John Woodcock said “Any optimism coming from the Tories will soon evaporate when this becomes clear they will not secure changes from the EU.”

Source: “brexit” – Google News