I raised the issue of the impact of a no-deal Brexit on Northern Ireland again during Northern Ireland questions this week:
The impact on the economy in Northern Ireland has been severe. What will the Minister do to avoid a double whammy once the 28 weeks have passed in the case of a no-deal Brexit to stop chaos, confusion and potentially violence between parties in Northern Ireland?
Mr Walker: “The hon. Lady is right to recognise that there has been a severe impact, and we are determined to work hand in hand with the Executive on the response to that. I was pleased to see them publishing their own plan, and their focus on skills and infrastructure are shared objectives with the UK Government. This certainly needs to be a joint endeavour, to ensure that we support a strong economy and the conditions for safety and security for the people of Northern Ireland.”
Progress with the negotiations appears to still be slow. At the “high level” conference on 15 June, Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen agreed to an intensified programme of talks in July and August. Next week will be the first round of ‘restricted’ negotiations for the chief negotiators and specialised groups. Agenda here.
I’ve had lots of emails from constituents worried about a weakening of food standards and John Lamont MP, a Conservative MP, held an adjournment debate this month on protecting UK food standards. I share the concerns of everyone who has got in touch with me. I don’t believe this Government has a mandate to weaken our agricultural or food standards in favour of a Trump style trade deal. Emily Thornberry, the shadow Trade Secretary, is taking the lead on this and has made it clear that Labour will be opposing any and all attempts to weaken our standards.