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Bitesized Blighty: Brexit on the Mind- February 22, 2019

Toyosi Adebayo

  • "Failure of British Politics": This week, U.K. political conversation has been abuzz with unusual Brexit news as a number of Members of Parliament resigned from both the Labour and Conservative party. Earlier today, Ian Austin became the ninth MP to leave the Labour party. Since the resignations began, an alliance of MPs from both major parties announced plans to form an independent party. This proposed new political party now has a total of 11 joining MPs, the same number of MPs as the Liberal Democrat Party and a greater number of MPs than the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), with whom the Conservative party agreed a deal to have its support on key votes, following the 2017 general election. Exiting MPs from Labour stated that the party “willfully failed to address hatred of Jewish people in its ranks” following last year’s anti-Semitism scandal that rocked the party. In the other camp, the Conservative defectors claim that they were pushed to resign due to a growing sense that the party has been taken over by hard right or hard-line Brexiteers. It is rumored that more MPs will follow in the steps of their ex-colleagues with a total of 22 MPs expected to walk away from the two main parties.
  • "Lose, Lose, Lose" For All!: The U.K parliament might be fumbling every possible decision over Brexit, but Ireland is taking some decisive steps toward mitigating the impact of a no-deal Brexit … or No-Exit (Seriously, nobody knows). The Republic of Ireland revealed a package of emergency measures which it plans to push through Parliament within the coming weeks. These new laws will help circumvent the increasing threat of damage to the Irish economy in the wake of a no-deal Brexit, which the Irish government warns would result in a "lose, lose, lose" for the UK, the European Union and Ireland. The emergency bill is set to include 15 separate sets of measures that would allow Dublin to rescue companies in financial difficulties and maintain financial market settlements, insurance contracts and "all island" electricity supplies over the Northern Ireland border. A major bone of contention on agreeing on a Brexit deals has been the controversial "backstop" Irish border policy. There are serious concerns over imposing a hard border between The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (the U.K.) as it could jeopardise  the peace agreement between both Irish territories.
  • "Please Sir, May I Have Some More?": UK and Ireland Food Supplies are warning that a no-deal Brexit could place tariffs of 40% or more on meat, fish, fruit, cheese and vegetables. Should the UK leaves the EU without a deal, both fall back on the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) most favoured nation tariffs, which means import duties on everyday food items from fruit to cheese. With 35 days left till Brexit and still no deal in sight, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC) and Retail Ireland warned that increased tariffs, devaluation of the sterling and new regulatory checks at the border will seriously impact on food supply into the UK and drive up the cost of fresh food and drink. The current WTO nation tariff places 42% tariff on imported cheddar, 46% on mozzarella, 40% on beef, 21% on tomatoes and 15.5% on apples. The country may have been holding it together so far, but we are certainly not prepared for Brexit/no-deal Brexit induced cheese shortage. Wine lovers should also prepare for heartbreak as wine drinkers could pay as high as 25 per cent more by 2025 in the event of a hard Brexit, or 11 per cent in the event of a softer Brexit. There’s no saying what a no-deal Brexit portends for a bottle of our favourite [fill in the blank]. It seems that deal or no-deal, we could also very soon be crying into our empty cups. 

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