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The United Kingdom used to have a reputation for being a bit dull but reliable and honourable in the way it conducted its affairs.

The Brexit process, which now sees the Cabinet falling apart, has wrecked all that. We are an international laughing stock as we caricature our closest trading partners as people who are trying to do us down, whilst seeking trade deals with the likes of Donald Trump.

We are indeed about to be vassal state of the EU. That’s because we decided to remove our representation from the Commission, Council of Ministers, European civil service and European Parliament, where we played a respected part in forming the laws by which we were governed.

The situation is now a total mess. It is the law that we leave the EU on March 29th. This is a fact that my friends calling for a People’s Vote brush over. The only way our departure can be stopped is to create a majority to overturn the Withdrawal Act in four months. It is difficult to see how this could be done.

Should it be done? Channel Four recently polled 20,000 and found 54% in favour of Remain. In other words, another close vote that would settle nothing. It would follow a highly divisive campaign where civil unrest can’t be ruled out. I feel I have been bullied out of recommending a second vote, but that is my view.

There is no majority for the deal “agreed” by the Cabinet on Wednesday night because Jeremy Corbyn seems to have hardened his opposition to any deal. A huge government offensive will now get underway to appeal to the likes of Wigan’s Lisa Nandy to support the deal in the national interest. Corbyn might call for opposition or abstention but a serial rebel himself, he cannot tell his MPs what to do.

The extreme Tory Brexiteers are frightened to death of carrying out their blood curdling threats in case it all unravels. They deserve the electorate’s punishment eventually for inflicting all this costly damage on the country and business.

Business! Who’d be a business person at the moment? Plagued by uncertainty, with the allegedly pro-business party in power. Imagine what the Tories would be saying if Labour was forcing companies to spend millions on stockpiling measures.

I recently heard the worried boss of an excellent Blackburn machine repairing business explaining that his firm depends on getting parts across Europe in a day. He is now contemplating having to set up in Europe. Is that what Lancashire Leavers really voted for?

Downtown means business in Cheshire

Finally, something positive for business. Downtown launched its latest network in Chester on Friday. The historic city, along with Warrington is part of the highly successful southern flank of the Northern Powerhouse. 25% of North West manufacturing comes from Cheshire and Warrington. The area is growing at three times the national average. The jobs are often from the hi tech and bio medicine spheres.

Warrington has capitalised on its excellent connectivity to promote a business focused local authority on the northern side, with Alderley Park in the east and Crewe’s potential links to HS2 in the south.

Downtown will look forward to bringing business together in the Cheshire and Warrington area, a true beacon of the Northern Powerhouse.