Labour leader criticises Prime Minister’s U-turn over self-isolation
The government has restarted emergency road measures in Kent, first installed to handle post-Brexit queues, “in anticipation of increased international travel by car drivers from Monday [‘freedom day’]”, according to Highways England.
Barriers on the M20 were erected over the weekend for Operation Brock, though some have been left confused considering ministers’ move on Friday to exclude France from the policy that allows vaccinated travellers to visit amber-list countries without quarantine on their return. It was blamed on the existence of cases of the Beta variant in the popular holiday destination.
A spokesperson for Eurotunnel said the company was “baffled” by the decision to further restrict cross-Channel travel. “We’ve been talking to government non-stop and didn’t get any heads up, and we’ve asked what is the rationale behind it,” it told the Guardian.
Meanwhile, UK supermarket chains have warned that rising Northern Ireland Protocol costs could “force” retailers to switch from British suppliers to EU ones. Representatives from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Iceland and Marks and Spencer – which together represent more than 75 per cent of NI’s grocery market – have sent a joint letter to the UK government and the European Commission to highlight their concerns.
Ministers urged to intervene before next step of NI Protocol checks
Price hikes caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol could “force” major UK retailers to switch from British suppliers to EU suppliers, representatives from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Iceland and Marks and Spencer have warned.
The protocol is a set of rules jointly agreed between the UK government and the EU to regulate post-Brexit trade to and from Northern Ireland.
It led to checks on some goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, leading to disagreements such as the highly publicised “sausage war”.
The six supermarkets, which represent more than 75 per cent of Northern Ireland’s grocery market, claim the next phase of checks will drive up costs both for them and Northern Ireland consumers.
In a joint letter to the UK government and the European Commission, the six stores appeal for action to prevent disruption to trade so UK supermarkets can “continue to provide the people of Northern Ireland with choice and affordability”.
Sam Hancock19 July 2021 08:16
Emergency road measures pop up in Kent amid post-freedom day traffic fears
Barriers on the M20 were erected over the weekend for Operation Brock, a decision taken on Thursday “in anticipation of increased international travel by car drivers from Monday”, according to Highways England.
Next weekend would normally be the busiest for passenger traffic at the ports, at the start of most school summer holidays, while tomorrow’s “freedom day” was expected to mean more traffic on the roads in Kent.
However, demand could be affected by the UK government’s announcement that France would be excluded from the policy that allows vaccinated travellers to visit amber-list countries without quarantine on their return due to cases of the Beta variant in the EU.
Eurotunnel told the Guardian it had not had immediate cancellations, but added: “We have seen significantly lower booking levels this year so did not anticipate any traffic congestion.”
It remains to be seen how popular cross-Channel travel is next weekend – normally the busiest for passenger traffic at the start of school summer holidays.
Sam Hancock19 July 2021 08:09
Good morning and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of political events on Monday as post-Brexit woes continue to cause trouble for Boris Johnson’s government.
Sam Hancock19 July 2021 08:00