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What will the Brexit extension mean for Kent?

The news of a further extension to the Brexit deal has caused all kinds of problems.

Political editor Paul Francis answers some questions about what this will mean for the county

Will Operation Brock on the M20 be lifted?

Possibly - especially given the political pressure coming from MPs and others.A meeting is scheduled today involving Highways England and other interested parties to discuss options. Sources say that one possibility is that the contra-flow westbound on the M20 will continue with the coast-bound carriageway returning to a normal three lanes.

Operation Brock will keep Kent moving - transport minister (8452790)
Operation Brock will keep Kent moving - transport minister (8452790)

Would the M20 have to be closed to traffic to return it to normal?

It is not clear. While the M20 was closed overnight on a number of days to implement the scheme and put in place the barrier on the London-bound carriageway, that may not be necessary if the contra-flow is kept. However, Highways England has said that it cannot activate and deactivate the scheme with a click of the fingers.

Will there be EU elections in the UK?

It looks like that is likely - even though MEPs elected in the UK might only stand for a matter of months. A poll could take place next month - just a few weeks after council elections are held. Councils in Kent are on standby and say they are prepared.

Polling Station. (8452861)
Polling Station. (8452861)

Who will meet the costs of holding elections to the European Parliament?

Councils have been told by the Cabinet Office that the government will meet all “reasonable costs” - covering things like arranging polling stations and payments made to returning officers and recruiting counters.

How will the delay affect EU citizens working and living in Kent?

The UK government has reached an agreement with the EU that will protect the rights of EU citizens and their family members living in the UK, so in theory the delay will not affect those arrangements. Figures released today show more than 400,000 European nationals have applied to secure their stay in the UK after Brexit

The number of applications received by the EU settlement scheme has increased by about 200,000 since it went live last month.

Does the delay increase the chances of a Conservative leadership contest?

Theresa May survived a vote of no confidence in January which, in theory, means she can stay put for another year. However, she has already indicated that she is prepared to step aside once the first phase of negotiating Brexit is concluded - which could mean she relinquishes the job - or come under pressure to do so - sooner.

Head to our politics page for expert analysis and all the latest news from your politicians and councils.


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