Brexit news – live: Trade deal ‘very unstable’, legal expert warns amid ‘cumbersome’ Irish sea checks – The Independent

Arlene Foster on the Irish sea border The Brexit trade deal is “very unstable” and could easily be brought crashing down, a legal expert has warned MPs as importers run into difficulty transporting goods across the Irish sea under new customs checks. Several questions on tariffs and trade go unanswered in the deal, specialist EU legal scholar Professor Catherine Barnard said, warning that companies may be put off investing in the UK.

Prof Barnard’s warning comes as a customs official with 40 years of experience in the field complained that the post-Brexit Irish sea border is “cumbersome” and hugely complex. Warning of a “huge shortage” of customs agents, Robert Hardy, director of one of four companies tasked with handling new customs forms for goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, said pressure will build at the border as exports begin to ramp up. A small grocer in Northern Ireland has already been forced to close after discovering new customs rules meant he could have to pay double the price for each item imported from Great Britain. 

Jonathan Owens, who runs grocer Causeway Organic, said he suspended trading after learning of “an extra layer of red tape” in imports despite Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis‘s insistence “there is no Irish Sea border”. Meanwhile, UK nationals have been blocked from entering Sweden after Ryanair staff reportedly refused to accept a negative coronavirus test from the NHS. Travellers had already faced trouble attempting to reach Spain and the Netherlands after the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December.

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“These arrests demonstrate that the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities deliberately misled the world about the true purpose of the National Security Law, which is being used to crush dissent and opposing political views. “The UK will not turn our backs on the people of Hong Kong and will continue to offer BNOs the right to live and work in the UK.” This is far from the first time Mr Raab has spoken out over Beijing’s crackdown on dissenters in the territory.

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“Once again where the Secretary of State goes, chaos and confusion follows and it’s children, families and education staff across the country who pay the price for his incompetence.”  The Labour MP also said that the government had treated young people as an “afterthought” throughout the pandemic.  Rory Sullivan6 January 2021 14:10


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The Independent’s policy correspondent Jon Stone reports:  Rory Sullivan6 January 2021 14:03


School exams to be replaced by teacher-assessed grades

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Our Whitehall Editor Kate Devlin has the story: 

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