Belfast Telegraph

Margaret Canning: Certainty... and hope for soft landing after Boris Johnson's landslide win

Under scrutiny: Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds at 10 Downing Street yesterday
Under scrutiny: Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds at 10 Downing Street yesterday
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Ask any businessperson here for a phrase that's defined the last couple of years, and it will be 'Brexit uncertainty'.

Now that uncertainty is banished, Brexit is a reality and the preparations will step up a gear. Many businesses, particularly big ones, have already got their plans together for a no-deal Brexit and trading on WTO terms.

They will probably continue with that planning, but in tandem there will be the planning for life under the Prime Minister's withdrawal deal.

Negotiating the now-notorious Irish Sea border will bring contortions of paperwork, administration and extra costs, the thought of which brings great nostalgia for the agreement negotiated by Theresa May. But there is also some hope that the size of Boris Johnson's majority will increase the likelihood of a softer form of Brexit emerging, which will ultimately soften the requirements for checks in the Irish Sea on goods from Great Britain going into NI.

He'll be less dependent on the support of the hardliner Brexiteers in his party.

But after winning a large number of seats in the manufacturing heartlands of the north of England, he'll also want to keep those votes.

That will mean safeguarding the jobs of people there - and that will involve negotiating a free trade agreement which enables frictionless trade to the benefit of the European car companies who employ thousands of people in the region.

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