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This Week in Brexit: Politics 0209

GBCC

In a week which saw families across the country prepare for the end of the summer holidays, the Government and the opposition have also been gearing up for a busy Autumn:

The Government

It’s been an alliterative feast for the Conservative Party, kicking off the task of getting the best deal from Brexit with a brainstorming session on Wednesday.

Out of this meeting of minds we now know that the UK’s Brexit negation position will involve:

  • Looking for a “unique” deal with the EU, not an “off the shelf” model mimicking existing deals with the likes of Norway or Switzerland.
  • A red line on immigration controls (i.e. no free movement of people)

Accepting free movement of people is widely viewed as a prerequisite for full access to the single market, so this will most likely be off the table in negotiations.

The PM has also been clear that this Government will not be all about Brexit. Continuing one of her key themes “building a society that works for everyone”, Theresa May Chaired a meeting of the social reform committee on Thursday.

With all these meetings afoot, we can expect a raft of announcements from Ministers in coming months, with the Conservative Party Conference (this year in Birmingham) a likely focal point.

Like many, we still have a number of questions we’d like the Government to answer about Brexit post-haste. Click here for our current “key asks”.

The Opposition

This week was relatively quiet by opposition standards.

JK Rowling entered the fray, expressing dismay at Labour’s current situation.

Jeremy Corbyn, recently faced criticisms for not tackling sexism from his own MPs. This week, he offered an olive branch by launching a “women’s manifesto”.

Key policies include all female shortlists, tackling gender stereotypes in education, focusing on workplace equality and funding for domestic violence shelters.

Among his calls to action was a plea for companies to stop "early evening socialisation", claiming after work drinks "discriminate against mothers".

The irony of issuing this plea at an early evening event followed by a drinks reception has not been lost on the British public.

Meanwhile, Owen Smith said he would not oppose a second Scottish independence referendum and was told “you’re toast” by Sky presenter Kay Burley.

Corbyn continues to reign supreme in polls of Labour members.

Also in the News

The Electoral Reform Society branded the EU referendum debate “dire”.

Fresh strikes from Junior Doctors were announced this week over the new contract the Government are seeking to impose.

Parliament’s environmental audit committee criticised Government for falling behind on targets for take-up of electric vehicles.

At the time of writing, the Green Party are gearing up for to announce their new leader at their party conference.

This Week at the Chambers

This week we’ve been working hard to keep our members informed about the latest local economic developments and champion our marvellous city-region.

We issued comment on the latest FDI figures for Greater Birmingham and Solihull and the West Midlands (click here). Our region has become quite adept at attracting Foreign Direct Investment, with FDI projects up 188% in the West Midlands since 2010/11.

We’ve launched our latest Quarterly Business Report Survey (click here to take part). This is the first post-referendum QBR survey and will give us some valuable data on how businesses are responding to and affected by the vote. Please do take part, it only takes a few minutes and you’ll be entered into a fabulous prize draw as a thank-you.

We are also proud to announce that the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce will be among the sponsors for this year’s Birmingham Literature Festival. Naturally, we’re very excited about this event that will both showcase home grown talent and attract national and international speakers and visitors to our fabulous city.

Finally, last Friday, we held a More Tea Less Hate tea party for our colleagues. The latest call to action from grassroots community group Worrying Signs, More Tea Less Hate is a nice way of celebrating the diversity of our workforce and spreading positivity in the wake of the rise in reported incidents of racism post-referendum. With the added bonus of cake.