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Rachel Anderson's column from yesterday's Northern Echo


'Yet another crunch week...'

Right then, are we all settled in for another “crunch” week of shouting at the telly, becoming experts on arcane pieces of constitutional convention whilst the Government and Parliament make Brexit look like the Sedgefield Shrove Tuesday Ball Game.We are at the point now where Government Ministers are metaphorically wrestling MPs in the mud and the first one to get Brexit to a House of Commons bar gets a free drink.

Its unedifying to say the least, with Prime Minister actively saying she will ignore the will of Parliament who have “taken back control” sort of and are due to indicatively vote on what Brexit (or not) they might be able to support.The hard-line Brexiteers or “Grand Wizards” as the media are comically referring to them (with seemingly no awareness of the connotations of that phrase in right wing politics) are outraged by that “control”, even though it is what they argued for all along.The hard-line still advocate for no deal which might be off the table…. or might not, with seemingly no intention of taking any responsibility for the consequences of a disorderly crash out.

In the meantime, business looks on with horror as they have even less certainty today than they did three weeks ago, the EU are bemused and not a little frustrated and no-one is any the wiser.

This would seem like a surreal comedy show if it wasn’t so serious.At the Chamber we speak to many companies on a daily basis who are struggling to navigate through this, and it is having a real impact on their business.One manufacturer for example imports a vital component of their final product from Denmark with around a six-week order time.They have always had a perfectly good system in place of rolling orders and just in time deliveries, until 5 weeks ago when the Danish company refused to accept an order because they had no idea if they would be able to deliver the goods after the 29th March tariff free and weren’t prepared to take the financial risk.The North East manufacturer now has no components and may be looking at layoffs.Arcane Parliamentary rambling and Government obfuscation will not help those families facing a sudden drop in income.

We can probably stand a couple more days of wrangling if it gets the ball allied and back to the village bull ring, but I fear this game may go on for weeks yet.