Sinn Fein: vote on Irish reunification must follow no-deal Brexit (The Guardian)
- On Wednesday, Boris Johnson held bilateral meetings with the five main parties of Northern Ireland at Stormont discussing the deadlock in latest talks.
- The leader of Sinn Fein, Mary Lou McDonald, has said it would be “unthinkable” if a no-deal Brexit was not followed by a poll on Irish reunification.
- McDonald warned Boris Johnson that “constitutional change is in the air” after meeting Johnson at Stormont on Wednesday morning.
- Boris Johnson reiterated commitment to the Belfast-Good Friday agreement and made it clear that in no circumstances would there by physical checks or infrastructure on the border.
Mood darkens for UK’s smaller manufacturers, consumers stoic (Reuters)
- Optimism among smaller British manufacturers has fallen to a three-year low in July due to a slowing global economy and Brexit confusion.
- The Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) gauge of optimism among small and medium-sized manufacturers fell to -28 from -12 in April, its lowest level since July 2016 post-Brexit vote.
- Unexpectedly, however, consumer confidence has risen in July to -11 from -13 in June.
- A separate British Retail Consortium survey showed shop prices declined in July by 0.1% year-on-year for the second month running.
Boris Johnson’s Brexit cash spree to be probed by Parliament’s spending watchdog with three months to go until UK leaves the EU (Evening Standard)
- The Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has warned that there is “not enough time” to spend such huge sums of money effectively in only three months.
- Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the PAC, accused Johnson of “using taxpayers’ money to fund a Brexit drumbeat” which she branded “an expensive form of megaphone politics aimed at Brussels”.
- The PAC is undergoing a probe of Brexit spending, discovering that the money spent on EU consultants had gone towards strategy, not delivery. She emphasized that the challenges are the front line and the focus should be on delivery for border security and customs.
UK car firms have ‘spent £330m on no-deal mitigation measures’ (Sky News)
- UK car manufacturers have stepped up their warnings over a no-deal Brexit, saying they have spent £330m collectively to date on mitigation measures.
- The car industry has demanded a continuation of free trade with the EU, with Vauxhall’s owner repeating a threat this week to close its Ellesmere Port plant if Brexit makes it unprofitable.