So much for leaving the EU to forge juicy trade deals all over the world. What will we do now?


Ministers are kidding themselves if they think that the inevitable coronavirus downturn will muddy the waters and provide cover for the deleterious effects of a no-deal Brexit. We already have a good idea of the sectors of the economy most vulnerable to Brexit, and these effects will be transparent enough in due course. Trade with Europe will either be lost completely or damaged by new tariff regimes.

The key Brexit argument that losses in trade with the EU would be more than compensated for by juicy new deals with the wider world was always a delusion. World trade in general is likely to have suffered long-term damage from the pandemic. Trading nations in restoring their economies will want to build on existing relationships; they won’t be falling over themselves to negotiate untried trade deals with the UK. We too should be consolidating our already close links with Europe, not sailing off blithely into the unknown at this difficult time.

Gavin Turner


Having clapped for our careers my husband and I went for our daily exercise – an evening walk. We were stopped by a woman in her eighties who was outside her home chatting to a neighbour. She asked us, “I hope you were clapping for the careers. Where do you live”? We confirmed that we had been out clapping every week and that we lived just around the corner. We refrained from adding that unlike her we were not out in our front garden with friends celebrating VE Day – we stayed inside. At least when we clap each week, we do so in the knowledge that we have genuinely been considerate to our frontline workers.

C Cook

Quarantining returning passengers to the UK will severely inhibit incoming tourism and will be unenforceable for returning UK passengers. I make an alternative suggestion. There is now a 20-minute Covid-19 swab test.

I suggest that all incoming passengers are swabbed at the top of the air bridge on disembarkation. They are given a hospital type wrist band with a bar code which corresponds to their swab code number. They then proceed through immigration and collect luggage (if any) but do not get through customs until their bar code is scanned and a corresponding negative swab result is obtained.

If negative the tourist/returner goes on their way happy. If a positive result is obtained the person is collected and taken to a hotel or a Nightingale hospital and detained until testing negative. There is then no need to do spot checks on persons doing self-isolation.

Dr Maria Forbes
Address supplied

Care homes quandry

NHS app users who come into “high-risk” contact with someone who’s tested positive for Covid-19 will be asked to self-isolate for two weeks, even if they’re asymptomatic, a testing chief has told NHS executives. Asymptomatic transfer is still ongoing in care homes; however, the government is still refusing to give “rolling testing” in all such facilities. Ergo, our elderly relatives will continue to die until the government finally treats them as equals of those in hospital or even the general public using their app – instead of second-class citizens. The government was supposed to integrate social care.

Stuart Wilkie

Nanny state

In France the return to school is voluntary. A French mayor criticised this policy, stating: “If parents send their children to school and they get sick, they’ll feel guilty; if they keep them home and they fall behind, they’ll feel guilty. If you govern, you need to take the decision.”

This seems to me an impressively clear statement of a case for totalitarianism. I and I hope many others reject it.

John Riseley​

Read more

Ministers shouldn’t bet on Covid providing cover for a no-deal Brexit

We must extend the EU trade talks – more uncertainty is unforgivable

Why a Brexit extension could break the deadlock