Brexit minister to visit Portsmouth over UK’s EU strategy

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BUSINESSES in Portsmouth will get to speak up about the government’s strategy to exit the European Union.

Brexit minister Lord Bridges is to chair a round-table discussion in the city with employers to listen to what they want from the deal – and concerns they may have.

I am delighted that Lord Bridges has chosen Portsmouth as one of the locations to come on his tour of the UK, to listen to the business community.

Councillor Donna Jones, Tory leader of Portsmouth City Council

It comes as fresh controversy surrounds the handling of Britain’s exit from Europe, triggered following last summer’s EU referendum result.

Twelve businesses are set to feature at the debate on Friday, January 20, being hosted by council leader, Councillor Donna Jones.

Those invited include: Ian Brown, managing director of Industrial Maintenance Services, who was also chairman of Brexit campaign group Business for Britain South East; William Hynett, chief executive of airfield operator Britten-Norman; representatives from IBM, Pall Europe and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

Cllr Jones said: ‘I am delighted that Lord Bridges has chosen Portsmouth as one of the locations to come on his tour of the UK to listen to the business community.

‘It is a powerful voice and this will give businesses the chance to speak up to the government about the opportunities and risks of leaving the EU.’

Meanwhile, Labour is calling on the government to set out a clear timetable for the publication of its Brexit plans, in the wake of the resignation of the UK’s top civil servant in Brussels.

The party’s Brexit spokesman, Sir Keir Starmer, has demanded secretary of state David Davis answer MPs’ questions about the decision of Sir Ivan Rogers to quit his post just weeks before the expected start of withdrawal negotiations.

Sir Keir said the UK Permanent Representative’s departure was likely to be a ‘significant loss’ for Britain and raised ‘a number of serious questions’ about the government’s preparations for the talks, which prime minister Theresa May has said she will trigger under Article 50 of the EU treaties before the end of March.