Blog: Brexit news – live: Boris Johnson urged to back ‘big bang’ for north, as Irish-French trade routes boom – The Independent

Today’s daily politics briefing

Boris Johnson has been urged to unleash “radical” Thatcherite policies in the north of England after Brexit and create a “northern Big Bang”. The Northern Research Group (NRG) of Tory MPs have backed a new report calling for deregulation and investment in the region.

It comes as new figures show a boom in direct trade from the Republic of Ireland and France. Continental freight traffic between Irish and French ports was up 447 per cent in January, as businesses seek to avoid red tape disruption in the UK.

Meanwhile leading Tories have dismissed a proposal to create an underwater tunnel linking Scotland and Northern Ireland. “Let’s concentrate on making the protocol work and put the hallucinogenics down,” said Northern Ireland committee chair Simon Hoare.

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The latest news on Brexit, politics and beyond direct to your inbox every weekday

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Boris Johnson urged to back ‘big bang’ for north

A right-wing think tank has called for the government to unleash “radical” Thatcherite policies in the north of England and create a “northern Big Bang”.

The report by the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) says that only the private sector can boost the north’s economy and calls for deregulation of the planning system, tax cuts for big business, and subsidies to attract “global capital”.

It has been backed by the Northern Research Group (NRG) of Tory MPs, who called for the government to “mirror the radicalism of Thatcher’s Big Bang in the Eighties”.

“The prime minister needs to recognise that they did so not only to deliver Brexit, but to voice the systemic disadvantages felt in many communities that were tired of being neglected in favour of London and the southeast,” said Jake Berry, the Tory MP who chairs the NRG.

Report backed by northern Tory MPs calls for deregulated planning system and tax cuts for big businesses

Adam Forrest15 February 2021 08:59

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Brexit creates boom in Irish-French trade routes

The UK’s Brexit problems has created a boom in direct trade from the republic of Ireland and France, new figures suggest.

Importers and exporters have been using new direct routes to and from Rosslare in south-eastern Ireland and French ports such as Cherbourg, Dunkirk and Roscoff to avoid red tape struggles at UK ports.

Ship visits from Rosslare to the EU were up 37 per cent in January compared to January last year, according to Glenn Carr, general manager at the Irish port. He also told the FT continental freight traffic was up 447 per cent in January compared to last year.

“If we have to go to the UK we go to the UK. Otherwise we bypass it completely,” said one Irish driver.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Adam Forrest15 February 2021 08:55

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Tories dismiss ‘hallucinogenic’ plan for Irish Sea tunnel

Could an underwater tunnel linking Scotland and Northern Ireland magically solve our Brexit problems? It emerged at the weekend that rail bosses think an Irish Sea tunnel is a serious prospect. In theory, the £20bn link from Stranraer to Larne would be placed 31.5 miles under the sea.

But Northern Ireland committee chair Simon Hoare is seriously cynical about the scheme.

“The trains could be pulled by an inexhaustible herd of unicorns,” said the Tory MP. “Let’s concentrate on making the protocol work and put the hallucinogenics down.”

Former No 10 chief of staff Gavin Barwell was equally dismissive. “A tunnel will do nothing to unblock trade from GB to NI. Nor will a bridge, an airlift or some yet-to-be-invented teleportation device.”

Adam Forrest15 February 2021 08:49

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EU may ‘nick’ business from UK, admits government

Losing money? Worried if your business will survive? Why not take the long view, says Dominic Raab. The foreign secretary urged businesses to take a “10-year view” on current Brexit struggles.

“I think if you take a 10-year view,” Raab told Andrew Marr, “actually the growth opportunities in the future are going to come from emerging and developing economies around the world.”

He added: “The growth economies are going to come from the Indo-Pacific region.”

Raab has also come in for criticism for his comments on the UK’s mammoth financial services sector. He admitted that the EU could “nick a bit of business here and there from the City” – but claimed the fundamentals would remain strong.

Foreign secretary urges business to take a ‘10-year view’ to current problems

Adam Forrest15 February 2021 08:45

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