British parliament to be suspended in September, following a request from Boris Johnson. Parliament will be suspended just days after MPs return to work in September – and only a few weeks before the Brexit deadline. Boris Johnson said a Queen’s Speech would take place after the suspension, on 14 October, to outline his “very exciting agenda”. But it means the time MPs have to pass laws to stop a no-deal Brexit on 31 October would be cut. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said it was a “constitutional outrage”. Three Conservative members of the Queen’s Privy Council took the request to suspend Parliament to the monarch’s Scottish residence in Balmoral on Wednesday morning on behalf of the prime minister. It has since been approved, allowing the government to suspend Parliament no earlier than Monday 9 September and no later than Thursday 12 September, until Monday 14 October.

Ruth Davidson to quit as leader of Scottish Tories. The leader of the Scottish Conservatives is to step down, in a move that throws the party’s revival in Scotland into doubt and deepens the political turmoil surrounding UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament to fend off opposition to Brexit. Her spokesman said the timing of a decision on her future had nothing to do with Mr Johnson’s announcement on Wednesday of plans to prorogue parliament for five weeks, but allies have acknowledged that her well-publicised differences with the PM were a factor in the decision to step down after eight years as leader of the party.

UK will refuse to pay £39bn divorce bill in no-deal Brexit. Boris Johnson insisted on Sunday that the UK would not pay the £39bn divorce bill in full in the event of a no-deal Brexit on October 31st, as EU officials said it was up to Britain to find a solution to the vexed issue of the Irish border. At the G7 summit in Biarritz, the UK prime minister held a cordial meeting with Donal Tusk, president of the European Council, albeit with no sign of a breakthrough on a revised Brexit deal. Mr Johnson said the UK would not be obliged to hand over a significant portion of the £39bn divorce bill if a no-deal Brexit happened on October 31.

Nigel Farage says he is open to an electoral pact with Tories. The leader of the Brexit party has said he is open to a pact with Boris Johnson’s Conservatives at the next general election if they will side with him in pursuing a no-deal Brexit. Speaking at the unveiling of the Brexit party’s latest prospective parliamentary candidates in Westminster, Mr Farage said that leaving the EU without an agreement was the only acceptable deal and that he would challenge the Tories everywhere if they did not pursue a clean break.

The value of the pound has fallen following news that Parliament is to be suspended just days after MPs return to work on 3 September. The pound is down more than 0.5% against both the euro and US dollar. So £1 is now worth €1.10 and $1.22.

Implications for Irish food & drink companies:
With this planned suspension of the UK Parliament, and with no progress being made from Boris Johnson’s meetings with EU representatives, there is an increased likelihood of a no-deal Brexit on the 31st of October. While there are objections from many parties to this decision to suspend parliament, there is no guarantee of it being overturned meaning that it is important that Irish food and drink companies are prepared for all possibilities that could arise from this. Bord Bia is providing a number of services which Irish food and drink companies can avail of.

The 2019 Brexit Barometer Industry Findings Report and Action Plan can now be downloaded from the Bord Bia website. The Action Plan provides practical information and outlines a number of steps that Irish food and drink companies can take in order to mitigate the risks posed by Brexit.

Bord Bia has also announced a new range of support services for Irish food and drink companies to help them to prepare for Brexit. These include:

  • Supply Chain Mentoring Programme
  • Customer Readiness Training
  • Financial Risk Mentoring Programme
  • Supply Chain Optimisation Workshop
  • Key Customer Management Programme

Information on the support services can be found by following the above links. Alternatively, all information can be found on the Brexit page on the Bord Bia website: https://www.bordbia.ie/industry/brexit

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) are also hosting numerous events over the next month based on Brexit and the steps that agri-food businesses can take to keep trade moving. More info on these, including registration links and the topics that will be covered, can be found at the below link: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/brexit/events

DAFM Event Dates & Locations:
10th September: The Printworks, Dublin Castle, Co. Dublin
27th September: Johnston Castle, Co. Wexford
30th September: Radisson Blu, Little Island, Co. Cork