UK politics news live: Brexit latest updates as moves to Ireland

Brexit Briefing: The end of the transition period

The Brexit campaign group has moved its internet registration to the Republic of Ireland in order to keep its .eu domain name after the UK left the European Union.

The group was founded by businessman Aaron Banks and supported by Nigel Farage and has pushed for the hardest possible Brexit since it pushed for Leave in the 2016 referendum.

Meanwhile, hauliers have warned they are being “overwhelmed” by red tape due to new checks on deliveries to Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

Industry body Logistics UK said deliveries were being delayed as lorries arrived in Belfast with incomplete paperwork after the end of the transition period on 31 December.

It comes as Debenhams announced it was suspending online sales to Ireland due to “uncertainty” about the new rules, which mean some products are now subject to tariffs, and other major retailers were reported to be considering similar steps.


DPD pausing deliveries into Europe

In a statement, parcel courier DPD UK said it was pausing its road delivery services into Europe, including Ireland, until at least Wednesday.

“The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement resulted in more complex processes, and additional customs data requirements for parcels destined for Europe. This, along with delays and congestion at UK ports for Channel crossings, has placed extra pressure on our turnaround and transit times.

“We are seeing up to 20 per cent of parcels with incorrect or incomplete data attached, resulting in these parcels needing to be returned to customers, so that the required data can be provided.

“In view of this unprecedented set of circumstances we believe that it is only right to pause and review our road service into Europe, including the Republic of Ireland. During this time, we will work with our customers to validate and correct the data we have in our system, to reduce the delays and enable us to resume normal service.

“This pause in our operation will be as short as possible and we intend to recommence this service on Wednesday 13 January.”

Samuel Osborne8 January 2021 08:46


Scottish seafood exporters hit by ‘perfect storm’ of bureaucracy, IT problems and confusion

Donna Fordyce, chief executive at Seafood Scotland, said exporters had been hit by a “perfect storm” of bureaucracy, IT problems and confusion.

She said: “The last 48 hours has really delivered what was expected – new bureaucratic non-tariff barriers, and no one body with the tools to be able to fix the situation.

“It’s a perfect storm for Scottish seafood exporters. Weakened by Covid-19, and the closure of the French border before Christmas, the end of the Brexit transition period has unleashed layer upon layer of administrative problems, resulting in queues, border refusals and utter confusion.

“IT problems in France meant consignments were diverted from Boulogne sur Mer to Dunkirk, which was unprepared as it wasn’t supposed to be at the export front line. There have also been HMRC IT issues on the UK side that need to resolved ASAP regarding certification.

“A lack of knowledge and understanding of the required paperwork means some companies are ill prepared for the new checks, which are taking far longer because of the mistakes being uncovered. When the systems settle down, checks should be carried out on samples from each load but now entire consignments are having to be checked to satisfy requirements.”

Ms Fordyce added many seafood companies could not afford the time it would take to fix the issues.

She said: “These businesses are not transporting toilet rolls or widgets. They are exporting the highest quality, perishable seafood which has a finite window to get to markets in peak condition. If the window closes these consignments go to landfill. The knock-on effect of export falling over is that the fishing fleet will have little reason to go out. In a very short time we could see the destruction of a centuries-old market which contributes significantly to the Scottish economy.

“The problem is no longer hypothetical. It is happening right now. We are working with industry, government, and other bodies to try to mop up the mess to allow trade to flow again. We are doing all we can to help companies get the paperwork done. It will take time to fix – which we know many seafood companies can’t afford right now.”

Samuel Osborne8 January 2021 08:33


Stanley Johnson says prime minister should be ‘jolly pleased’ with his application for French citizenship

Stanley Johnson said his application for French citizenship was a “sentimental and symbolic” gesture to his mother and that the prime minister should be “jolly pleased” with the decision.

“I’m rather pleased with the notion, I like the idea. My thought is that at this moment we certainly don’t need to be anti-European,” he told Good Morning Britain.

“This is a little, tiny gesture by me to build the bridge, faire le pont, I think you might say.

“I think [Boris Johnson] should be jolly pleased. His middle name… is after my French grandmother. As a matter of fact I think he’s lived most of his life as an American.

“He’s perfectly aware of this… it’s a nice idea.”

Mr Johnson went on to praise his son’s work as prime minister and said Britain was “well placed” to continue its relationship with Europe in the future.

“(Boris) comes in – bang, bang, bang, bang bang, it reminds me a bit of Churchill in May 1940… I would say he is coming through this in fine style,” he said.

“Perhaps in the nick of time, this country did get itself together, did get the vaccine back, and I’m starting to sound like Gavin Williamson now, but we were ahead of other countries here and I think we are in a very good position to come out of this crisis.

“The real crisis is how we deal with Europe… and far more how we deal with the climate change issue which is our main responsibility now.

“We have to have a good relationship with our former partners… I do think that Britain is well placed to follow that up.”

Samuel Osborne8 January 2021 08:21


Scottish fishermen halt exports to EU after Brexit bureaucracy adds delays delivery

Many Scottish fishermen have halted exports to EU markets after post-Brexit bureaucracy delayed deliveries by days and added hundreds of pounds to their costs.

Fishing exporters told Reuters their businesses could become unviable after the introduction of health certificates, customs declarations and other paperwork.

Business owners said they had tried to send small deliveries to France and Spain to test the new systems this week but it was taking five hours to secure a health certificate in Scotland, a document which is required to apply for other customs paperwork.

In the first working week after Brexit, one-day deliveries were taking three or more days – if they got through at all.

Several owners could not say for sure where their valuable cargo was. A trade group told fishermen to stop fishing exported stocks.

Samuel Osborne8 January 2021 08:07


Good morning and welcome to the latest Brexit updates from The Independent.

Samuel Osborne8 January 2021 07:54

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