Mon, 24 June 2024

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Christmas Strikes Continue, Conservative MPs Visit Ukraine, Report Shows Brexit Is Damaging Businesses

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union are going on strike for four days (Alamy)

3 min read

Cross-sector strikes are continuing today with National Highways workers walking out for four days until Christmas day.

The strike involves members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) in London and southeast England who work as on-road traffic officers and regional operating centre operatives. 

Industrial action on Britain’s rail network will see some trains stop running from Friday as national strikes begin on Christmas Eve.

People are being urged to carry out their Christmas travel plans “as soon as possible” over the festive period.

According to the Compassion in Politics think tank, around 41 per cent of people think the Conservative government is responsible for the numerous strikes, while 35 per cent blame the unions. 

Conservative MPs visit Ukraine

Bomb damage in Odesa, Ukraine
Over 1.5 million people were without power in Odesa a night attack in early December (Alamy)

Tory MPs Bob Seely and Chris Green, along with pollster Michael Ashcroft, are visiting Odesa in Ukraine this week to assist humanitarian volunteers. 

Former soldier Seely has made multiple trips to the country this year, and lived in the capital city Kyiv in the early 1990s when he worked as a foreign correspondent. 

On his last visit to Ukraine in September, Seely wrote for ConservativeHome that Parliament should reinvigorate the Ukraine All Party Parliamentary Group and urged politicians to keep paying attention to the conflict.

“Let us be under no doubt of the coming dangers: to Ukraine, to Russia, to us all, which lie ahead,” he wrote. 

“Support for Ukraine must not waver, but we must not be blind to the risks – but instead seek to manage them as best we can.”

His visit coincides with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s arrival in the United States, where he posed for photos with US President Joe Biden and Zelensky offered Biden an award as thanks for US military support to Ukraine. 

On Wednesday, the US announced they would spend billions more on weapons for Ukraine.

UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will join other G7 finance ministers in a call at 12pm on Thursday to discuss how Russia’s war on Ukraine is continuing to impact countries across the world. 

Brexit report prompts businesses to demand new EU deal

A new report on Brexit has shown that the UK’s departure from the EU is damaging British businesses’ ability to trade with the continent.

More than three quarters of UK businesses trading with Europe find that the existing Brexit deal does not help them increase sales or grow their business, according to research for the British Chambers of Commerce. 

The research also shows more than half of businesses find it difficult to navigate the new goods rules that form part of the current deal. 

This has prompted a renewed call from businesses for the government to make a new deal with the EU to eliminate the complex trade rules. 

Shevaun Haviland, the BCC's director general, said: “Businesses feel they are banging their heads against a brick wall as nothing has been done to help them.”

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