Business, Freight News

Government trying to airbrush Brexit out of politics, says Tudor boss

[ January 9, 2020   //   ]

The government appears to be trying to reduce public attention and parliamentary oversight of Brexit, says director of Leeds-based Tudor International Freight, Adam Johnson.

It is abolishing the dedicated Department for Exiting the EU, and the House of Commons Brexit select committee, at the end of this month and, according to media reports Prime Minister Boris Johnson has even banned officials from using the word ‘Brexit’.Even Number 10’s dedicated Brexit press team will be renamed, from February onwards.

Adam Johnson adds: “The government is also apparently planning to deny Parliament oversight of the talks ahead and a vote on extending the post-Brexit transition period, which it’s committed to ending on 31 December this year.”

He suggested that the Prime Minister was trying to position the forthcoming negotiations of interest only to specialists. However, in truth, they would be of massive importance, including to businesses, as they would cover Britain’s future trading arrangements with the EU.

He said: “One potential reason for the government’s apparent positioning that Brexit is all-but over is it wants to try and reduce scrutiny of the agreements the Prime Minister will make with the EU in the months ahead. This is because, whether he sticks to his guns or makes concessions, he’s bound to upset significant audiences at home.”

Adam Johnson said if, on the one hand, the Prime Minister was true to his word and agreed a distant future trading relationship with the EU, merely like the one the bloc had with Canada, British businesses would face greatly increased costs and administrative burdens, plus probably significantly lower sales.

Alternatively, changing tack and agreeing a closer future trading relationship with the EU would be unpopular with the more extreme Brexiters, in his party and elsewhere.

He said: “Such concessions are likely to be needed, however, if any comprehensive agreement is to be reached with a more powerful partner within the existing transition period. This timescale implies a window for these demanding and detailed talks – officially aimed at producing agreements not just on trade but also financial services, fishing, Northern Ireland and data issues – only from March to around October.

Meanwhile, new European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen arrived for talks with the Prime Minister on 8 January. She warned that it would be impossible to reach a comprehensive trade deal by the end of 2020 and that if the deadline was not extended some prioritisation would be needed. However, the BBC reported

Boris Johnson has insisted a deal is possible by December 2020 a Downing Street spokesman as saying that but the PM was adamant that negotiations would not be extended.