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Thursday's Business and Politics round-up

06 Jun 2019

Person sat at a table reading a newspaper

Good morning,
 
Conservative party leadership contender Michael Gove has said that the 31 October Brexit deadline was “arbitrary” and that the UK must not be bound by a “fixed” date if it needed slightly more time to get a deal in place. However, he insisted that any extension would be weeks, not months.
 
The comments have put Gove on the opposite side to other contenders such as frontrunner Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab, who have insisted that the UK must leave on 31 October with or without a deal in place.
 
Gove, on the other hand, warned that committing to leaving by the set October deadline “come what may” could result in Parliament forcing a general election in which Tories would face defeat.
 
How the next leader would get the deal through Parliament and stance on no-deal Brexit have been dominating the leadership campaign so far.



The morning's top stories, rounded up for your convenience. 

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Crashing out

Ford is expected to announce plans to close its engine plant in Bridgend, South Wales, after operating there for 40 years. The company will meet with union leaders later today when the announcement on the future of the site will be made. As many as 1,700 jobs are under threat, with hundreds more of people who are employed in businesses that supply Ford’s plant.
 
Regional organiser for the GMB union, Jeff Beck, said the closure would “mean disaster for both our members in Bridgend and the community at large”. Ford haven’t commented “on speculation”.
 
The UK’s car industry has been under struggle in recent months, with Honda announcing plans to close its Swindon plant in 2021 and Nissan cancelling plans to manufacture its X-Trail model in the UK. This also comes after figures showed falling car sales in the UK last week.

Eastern alliance 

Huawei has signed a deal with Russian technology company MST to develop 5G networks in Russia during China President’s Xi Jinping three day visit in Russia. Both firms will develop the technology over the next year.
 
This comes as Huawei continues to face backlash in Western countries over concerns about the company’s links to Chinese government and national security. The US has encouraged its allies to block Huawei from developing 5G networks, while Australia and New Zealand have blocked the company from supplying equipment.
 
Several companies have also distanced themselves from Huawei – Google have recently announced the decision to suspend all business activity with the Chinese firm.

In the game

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has launched a takeover offer for Game Digital worth £51.9m, following decision to increase its stake in the retailer. The company already holds almost 20% of Game’s shares making it the largest shareholder.
 
Sports Direct reportedly has plans to overhaul the chain, which could lead to store closures and job losses. The review would cover its stores, headquarters and distribution centre.
 
In other retail news, Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia was unable to gain enough support from its landlords to push through an agreement for restructuring plans, which include seeking rent cuts at over 150 stores and closing around 50 further stores. In return to lower rents, landlords would be given 20% stake in the company. Talks with landlords will reportedly continue.  


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Donjeta Miftari, Head of Communications 

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Euan Holmes, Press Officer

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