The Latest: UK food retailers warn of price hikes, shortages

January 28, 2019
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British Union flags fly in front of The Houses of Parliament in London, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. British Prime Minister Theresa May launched a mission to resuscitate her rejected European Union Brexit divorce deal, setting out plans to get it approved by Parliament. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Britain’s plans to leave the European Union (all times local):

1:55 p.m.

Food retailers in Britain are warning of higher prices for food as well as shortages in a starkly worded letter to lawmakers urging them to avoid leaving the European Union without a deal.

McDonald’s, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose were among those saying Monday they were “extremely concerned” about disruptions in the food supply chain, given that nearly one-third of the food Britons eat comes from the EU.

The industry says that “this complex, ‘just in time’ supply chain will be significantly disrupted in the event of no deal,” and that there will be pressure on food prices from higher transport costs, currency devaluation and tariffs.

The intervention comes ahead of a crucial day for May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday, with Parliament considering a number of amendments that could prevent Britain from leaving the EU without an agreement on future relations.


12:40 p.m.

A top European Commission official says it would be ‘a stupid thing’ for the European Union to make any concessions to Britain that would put the bloc at a disadvantage just to clinch a Brexit agreement.

Jyrki Katainen says “there’s no reason to give any concessions” to Britain which knew of the consequences of leaving the bloc. He said the EU has negotiated in good faith and had reached a good deal that was rejected by the British parliament.

Katainen said he doesn’t see “much room for maneuver” on a backstop deal designed to prevent a hard post-Brexit border that would bring back customs and identity checks between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the U.K.

Katainen was speaking Monday after talks with Cypriot Finance Minister Harris Georgiades.

Georgiades said although Cyprus wants to “definitely avoid” a no-deal Brexit and would opt to “pause the process” in order to give negotiators more time to hammer out terms that are “benign and less damaging for all.”


9:35 a.m.

A leading Brexit supporter says he will back Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit divorce deal with the European Union if she wins concessions on controversial language designed to prevent border checks in Northern Ireland.

Boris Johnson, the former U.K. foreign secretary, writes Monday in the Daily Telegraph that it would be “unadulterated good Brexit news” if May negotiated an expiration date for the Irish border backstop plan. Currently, the backstop clause would indefinitely keep Britain in a customs union with the EU if no other way were found to avoid physical border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Tuesday is a crucial day for May’s Brexit deal, with Parliament considering a number of amendments that could prevent Britain from leaving the EU without an agreement on future relations.

Update hourly