Conservative minister refuses to rule out triggering Article 16 before Christmas

A Conservative minister has failed to rule out triggering Article 16 before Christmas, risking disruption to families and businesses over the festive period.

Responding to an urgent question in Parliament this morning by Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael, Conservative Paymaster General Michael Ellis failed to rule out triggering the mechanism this side of Christmas, adding that “we want a negotiated outcome but we are willing to use Article 16.”

Meanwhile, Conservative MP Peter Bone suggested in the debate that the date of triggering Article 16 was irrelevant.

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Carmichael raises isles frustrations on high-speed broadband rollout

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has spoken out in Parliament on the need for greater energy in the rollout of high-speed broadband for the isles. Speaking in a debate on the “digital divide”, Mr Carmichael highlighted the disparity of service between the isles and other parts of the UK, and noted that once again the deadline for completion of the R100 programme had been pushed back with no notice or explanation, as reported by the Press and Journal yesterday.

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Carmichael presses ministers for update on Shared Rural Network progress

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has pressed government ministers on progress in implementing the Shared Rural Network, a plan to greatly increase mobile coverage in rural and island parts of the UK and to eliminate ‘not-spots’. The £1bn plan was announced in 2019 with work beginning in autumn of last year, but after encouraging updates during the summer there has been limited news on progress recently.

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Carmichael leads cross-party letter to PM on tidal stream support

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today led a group of 36 cross-party MPs writing to the Prime Minister to call for a “ring-fenced pot” in the upcoming Contract for Difference power generation auctions in order to support the development of tidal stream energy. MPs from the Liberal Democrats, Conservatives, Labour and the SNP, as well as the Greens and Plaid Cymru, joined the call to change course ahead of a deadline at the end of this month.

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Carmichael presses government for assurances on disruption to fishing exports

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today challenged the government to ensure reliability of exports for the fishing industry in the crucial final weeks of the year in the face of threats of trade disruption. Mr Carmichael highlighted the case of a local isles business which lost sales during the severe disruption caused by the UK’s departure from the EU at the beginning of the year, and was unable to obtain promised compensation.

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Carmichael presses PM for urgent change to tidal stream energy support

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today challenged the Prime Minister to change course and put greater support for tidal stream technologies, such as those developed in the Northern Isles, into the upcoming Contract for Difference auctions. The auctions are part of the government’s fiscal policies to support the commercialisation of green energy technologies such as offshore wind, and yet despite the UK’s world-leading position in tidal stream energy development, these technologies are not currently included in the government’s draft framework for the next auction, which is to be finalised at the end of November.

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Carmichael backs FSB concerns about Budget

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has backed concerns raised by the Federation of Small Businesses and other commercial groups about the lack of tools to bounce back from the pandemic in the Budget announced this week.

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Critical period for fishing now put at risk by government – Carmichael

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has spoken out today against the risk to fishermen from the government’s dispute with France over access for a small number of boats in the English Channel. In response to French boats being denied access to UK waters, the French government has threatened actions including a prohibition of British fishing vessels landing at French ports, reinforcement of customs and sanitary controls, systematic security checks of British boats, and reinforcement of controls on lorries to and from the UK, which would have a serious impact on exporters passing through France.

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Carmichael leads parliamentary debate on DVSA

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today led a debate in Parliament on the operations of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency in Shetland, highlighting major problems in the agency’s approach and attitude to local people.

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Carmichael comments following DVSA debate: “finding excuses and casting aspersions”

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has reacted further to comments from the government during today’s debate on the operations of the DVSA in Shetland. During the debate the responding minister, Trudy Harrison MP, suggested that while the DVSA was working hard to ensure services were kept in the isles, the problems with test sites were primarily due to high costs from local businesses and intransigence from Shetland Islands Council, something which Mr Carmichael noted was inaccurate given the Council’s efforts to work with the DVSA and others since 2016.

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