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The UK Conservative Party is celebrating its annual congress, a key time to join forces and focus the political message, just as dozens of troops have been deployed across the country to ensure the supply of gasoline to the British. The ministers of Boris Johnson, protagonists of the Manchester convention – many of them saw the affiliates face to face for the first time, after a long lockdown – conspired on Tuesday to defend Brexit tooth and nail, against criticism and analyzes which suggest that it has been an aggravating factor in the shortage of truckers, butchers, slaughterers, collectors or construction personnel. The star of the Palais des Congrès was the Minister of the Economy, Rishi Sunak. He is a tiny man, extremely thin and short, but he unleashes passions among the delegates, who flooded the main hall to listen to him. “They keep telling me I’m even smaller than on TV,” he broke the ice in his speech.

The UK leader for preventing a half exit from the pandemic drew the most applause by making a fervent defense of leaving the EU. “Five years ago they told me it would ruin my political career if I supported Brexit,” he said. “But I have always and will always put my principles forward. I was proud of my decision and believe that despite the challenges, in the long run, the agility, flexibility and freedom that Brexit has given us will be of much more value in the 21st century economy than proximity to the Marlet. [de la UE]Sunak assured. In the front row, Boris Johnson applauded, although his enthusiasm for the man many already refer to as his successor was significantly lower than that of the rest of the event attendees.

The threat to Irish protocol

The most provocative tone against the EU came from David Frost, the minister in charge of negotiations with Brussels and the nightmare of community offices. It was the first speech of the day and the room was barely half full. Frost, however, had previously sought the alliance of The telegraph of the day, the first newspaper of the tories, so that your ad does not go unnoticed. It was the story on the front page. The Johnson government has already prepared a new legal text which substantially rethinks the Northern Ireland Protocol, the most delicate stumbling block in years of negotiations between London and Brussels. Downing Street’s argument, against the general opinion of the EU or even the administration of American Joe Biden, now suggests that the protocol, designed to preserve the delicate peace in the region reached by the Good Friday is the main threat to this peace and a factor of political instability in the region.

“We cannot wait a lifetime. Without an agreed solution soon, we will have to act and use the Article 16 safeguard mechanism. This will be the way to deal with the impact the protocol is having in Northern Ireland, ”threatened Frost. Article 16 of the protocol, which acts like a nuclear button, gives the parties the power to suspend the treaty “in the face of serious economic, social or environmental difficulties”. It is difficult to see the gravity of the so-called “sausage war”, which led the Johnson government to extend up to three times the deadline for putting in place the customs controls that the protocol requires it to impose. Rather, everything responds to the pressure to which the Northern Irish Unionist parties are subjected, which regard the protocol as a betrayal – Northern Ireland remains in the internal market of the EU, outside the United Kingdom – and threaten to break its engagement with the institutions of the autonomous government of the region if the protocol does not disappear.

The center of Manchester appeared on Monday armored by the police. The tories did anything possible to prevent street protests, in a town with a Labor constituency and mayor, from splashing out on their convention. Inside the fortified fortress with fences and security forces, delegates debate in the Palais des Congrès, and fraternize among themselves in the bars and restaurants of the neighboring hotel Midland, a stately Edwardian building where the Beatles were once shunned for not wearing appropriate clothing.

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Between the stalls of oxfords (minimum of 220 euros a pair), poplin shirts or silk ties – the stalls surrounding the Conservative Congress are clearly different from those in the Labor convention – the delegates summoned to Manchester were above all looking to reaffirm that the Brexit journey, in the midst of the current crisis, had been worth it: “We have already woken up from the long bad dream of being in the EU,” Frost assured them. “The UK’s renaissance is starting now.”

Soldiers at gas stations

Manchester has not suffered as much from a fuel shortage as London or the southwest of England in general. Conservative delegates, locked in the convention center bubble, avoided the image of humiliation: 200 soldiers finally deployed by the government to drive tankers and deliver fuel to gas stations. If in Scotland and the north of England the situation had practically stabilized on Monday, with only 6% of service stations out of service, the situation in the south of the country still presented difficulties, with at least one in five completely closed. “We continue to monitor the situation very closely, but it will take us at least a week or 10 days for all our associates to accumulate fuel and return to their normal levels,” he said. Sky News Gordon Balmer, the president of the Petrol Station Association of the United Kingdom (PRA). PRA represents more than 5,000 of the country’s more than 8,300 service stations.

The deployed soldiers trained this weekend at the oil company’s facilities, before starting fuel distribution early Monday morning. The government will maintain the army’s collaboration for 31 days and is confident that by then the fuel supply will be completely stabilized. In parallel with the deployment of the army, the Johnson government decided to temporarily “park” the restrictions on immigration policy that Brexit brought about and to grant 5,000 temporary visas (until February-March) to truck drivers. the EU who have decided to travel. UK. Johnson, however, has already ruled out Downing Street easing its immigration policy even further and calling on businesses to train and offer better wages to British citizens. Brexit, defends the British Prime Minister, will need a “period of readjustment” before it begins to bear fruit.

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