Urgent Brexit Question 07/12/20

I raised just a few of the challenges created by the UK Government failing to reach a deal with the EU. Given the fish export service will go live two days before the end of transition, the UK Government’s own IT systems aren’t even ready.

Even if there’s a deal at this late stage, it will be a very thin deal which will inflict customs costs and delays on sectors already struggling just to survive Covid.

You can watch my full contribution here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuX0bCk_yfc

Dr Philippa Whitford

Even if there is a deal at this eleventh hour, it will be very thin, inflicting customs costs and delays on sectors that are already struggling to survive covid. The Minister has called on businesses to get ready, but the Government’s own IT systems are not ready; indeed, the fish export service will go live just two days before the end of transition. Does the fact that this Government are having to plan military flights to bring in medical supplies, including the vaccine, not make them pause for thought before such an act of self-harm?

Penny Mordaunt

It is right that we prepare for every possible contingency. There are all sorts of things that we have not mentioned this afternoon that are part of the Government’s in-tray—all sorts of contingencies that we have to think about. In the Cabinet Office, for example, I look after cyber issues. There are many things that we have to think about and many things that we have to prepare for, and it is right, particularly on medicines and medical devices, that we ensure that we have every contingency in place.

However, I would also point out to the hon. Lady that the border operating model and many things that businesses will need to do to get ready are not contingent on the final negotiations going on. We have invested heavily in support services for traders, businesses and citizens, and it has been right to do so. Again, if colleagues have issues with their constituents or businesses, please talk to me and I will do my best to get an official to talk to the business and put it in touch with the many webinars that are going on to help support businesses and citizens to make this transition.