Johnson and Trump eye US-UK trade deal ‘within a year’

BIARRITZ, France — U.S. President Donald Trump wants a trade deal with the U.K. by the summer of 2020, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said following their meeting at the G7 summit.

Acknowledging that a 12-month timetable for a post-Brexit pact with Washington was “very fast,” Johnson nevertheless said he’d “love to” to deliver an agreement that quickly.

“There’s an opportunity to do a great free trade deal with the United States,” Johnson told ITV News. “The president is very gung-ho about that and so am I.”

Johnson made a point of criticizing some elements of U.S. protectionism in his meeting with Trump, acknowledging “tough talks ahead” and highlighting barriers to U.K. food produce entering the American market.

“I don’t think people realise quite how protectionist sometimes the U.S. market can be,” he told ITV. “but what I’m saying to Donald … is, you know, this is a big opportunity for both of us but … we need to see movement from the U.S. side.”

“They want to do it within a year, I’d love to do it within a year, but that’s a very fast timetable”

Johnson also told the BBC that a year-long timetable “is going to be tight” but that suggestions a negotiation could last “years and years” were an “exaggeration.”

A trade deal could face domestic resistance on each side of the Atlantic. While the U.K. government has said it will not change animal welfare standards to allow U.S. products into the U.K., American negotiators will push hard for a deal that benefits their farmers. Senior Democrats in Congress have also warned that they would block any trade deal if the U.K.’s exit from the EU were to destabilize the peace process in Northern Ireland.

The U.K. cannot begin substantive negotiations on trade, or strike new deals, until it has left the EU, which it is currently scheduled to do on October 31.

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More than 5,000 motorists have been caught drink-driving multiple times

More than 5,000 motorists have been caught drink-driving on more than one occasion in the past four years, it has emerged.

Of the 5,181 repeat offenders, 4,879 drivers were caught drunk at the wheel twice, 275 were caught three times and one driver was caught six times, the figures reveal.

The data was obtained from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) via a freedom of information request submitted by the road safety charity Brake.

The scale of repeat offending uncovered has prompted Brake to call on the courts to increase the number of driving bans handed out to keep “unsafe drivers off the road”.

Courts urged to hand out more driving bans

Brake has also asked the Government to give the green light to proposals to introduce “alcohol interlocks” to drink-driver rehabilitation programmes in the UK.

Alcohol interlocks are automatic control systems designed to prevent driving with excess alcohol by requiring the driver to blow into an in-car breathalyser before starting the ignition. The devices are already used in drink-drive offender rehabilitation schemes in the US and Sweden.

What are the penalties for drink-driving?

Motorists caught driving, or attempting to drive, while above the legal limit or while unfit due to alcohol can receive an unlimited fine; a driving ban of at least one year; or a six-month prison sentence, with the penalty decided by the magistrates who hear the case.

Anyone convicted of two drink-driving offences within 10 years can face a three-year driving ban.

‘Devastating consequences’

“Driving over the alcohol limit can have devastating consequences, so it is shocking to see thousands of drivers have been caught drink driving at least twice in the past four years,” said Joshua Harris, a Brake spokesman.

He added: “What is worse is that many of these drivers shouldn’t have been on the roads to offend again, if the full extent of the law had been used.”


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Ford Fiesta ST review – hot hatch harnesses the power of three

As a native Scot and petrolhead, I confess to a little shame at having never completed the famous North Coast 500 before.

So when I was sent the new Ford Fiesta ST to test it seemed like the ideal time to venture north – a self-declared driver’s car on some of the most acclaimed roads in the country.

And the Fiesta didn’t disappoint.

Some people take supercars around the NC500 and while there are stretches that suit such beasts, far more of it is narrow and winding, peppered with single-track and shoddy surfaces. Better matched, then, to something small, nimble and responsive than something as wide as a bus and with 600+bhp to marshal.

Ford raised eyebrows when it announced that this ST would drop the old 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine in favour of a three-cylinder. However, the 1.5-litre three-pot is clearly up to the job. Its output is the same as the final special editions of the last gen – at 198bhp – and Ford have done a great job building a flexible, lively, yet economical unit that suits the nature of the car.

Ford Fiesta ST

Price: £21,150 (£26,550 as tested)
Engine: 1.5-litre, three-cylinder, turbo, petrol
Power: 198bhp
Torque: 214lb/ft
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Top speed: 144mph
0-62mph: 6.5 seconds
Economy: 32.1-46.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 136g/km

It revs willingly and despite the turbo kicking in early benefits from a good dose of revs. But it’s also flexible enough that you can drift around on reserves of torque (214lb/ft) if you’re feeling lazy. It even sounds good, thanks to some active exhaust valve trickery.

The 62mph sprint takes 6.5 seconds and there’s optional launch control, which Ford insists is for track use only but is available in two of the three selectable drive modes. These adjust the throttle, stability control and steering to suit “normal”, “sport” and “track” conditions.

Read more: Buying used: Ford Fiesta ST vs Vauxhall Corsa VXR

Since the very first Focus, handling has been Ford’s party piece and the latest Fiesta doesn’t let the side down. On the insane switchbacks of the Bealach na Ba and across the snaking single-track roads around the north-west, the little Ford responds quickly and neatly to every input.

Ford Fiesta ST Bealach na Ba

Even at low speeds it feels agile but as you press on it becomes increasingly responsive, dancing along with confidence thanks to unique force-vectoring rear suspension and the fastest steering rack this side of a Focus ST.

Use the sharp-shifting six-speed manual transmission to keep the turbo spinning and it reacts rapidly, squirting from corner to corner and fizzing along B-roads exactly the way a small hot hatch should.

Ford Fiesta ST Kylesku Bridge

Our car’s Performance Pack adds a Quaife mechanical limited-slip differential to help make cornering neater and quicker but with the steering just off-centre a heavy right foot can still provoke some obvious torque steer.

Such agility and liveliness does translate into a lively ride. The ST lacks the composure of the less engaging VW Polo GTI and is a good deal firmer than the standard car. One colleague reckons it is too rough as a daily driver but I disagree. This is, after all, a hot hatch and you need to sacrifice some comfort for such sharp handling.

Ford Fiesta ST

The appeal of hot hatches has always been that as well as being thrilling to drive when the conditions are right they can cope with the everyday tasks of a normal hatchback.

Its firm ride aside, the Fiesta does a fine job as a regular supermini.

You can have it in three or five-door shapes and while it’s still not massive inside there’s space for a couple of smaller passengers in the rear and those up front have enough room. The boot’s also a decent size – it swallowed four days’ worth of camping gear, so can easily accommodate a weekly shop or a pushchair.

Ford Fiesta ST interior

Nobody buys a hot hatch for its economy but the Fiesta’s achievements here also deserve to be applauded. Over 945 miles of some of Scotland’s best, most driver-focused roads it returned an astonishing 40.5mpg thanks, in part, to its cylinder-deactivation tech.

At £21,150 the tested ST-2 brings an eight-inch Sync3 media system with 10-speaker B&O Play audio, cruise control, lane keep aid, and eye-catching 17-inch alloys. Our car’s long list of options bumped that to north or £26,000 but it’s down to buyers whether a panoramic sunroof, full LED lights and a fancy paint job are worth splashing out on.

They’re nice but, the £925 Performance Pack aside, have little impact on the car’s main appeal.

At its core, the Fiesta ST is a riotous little ball of energy that nails its brief of being equally at home on a track, a B-road or the supermarket run.

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Dramatic footage shows runaway trailer veering across three lanes of busy motorway

Authorities are urging drivers to check their trailers and caravans before towing after surveillance footage showed an out of control trailer rolling across three lanes of the busy M25.

The video, caught by a motorway monitoring camera shows drivers having to avoid the large white box trailer which veers across the motorway after becoming detached from its tow vehicle and slams into the central reservation then back across the road.

The incident, which occurred near the Surrey/Kent border caused a five-mile tailback while the trailer was recovered.

It has prompted Highways England, which oversees England’s motorway network, to urge drivers to check that whatever they are towing is safe, and correctly hitched and that they hold the relevant licence and insurance.

Proper checks

Highways England’s strategic road safety lead Stuart Lovatt said: “Thankfully incidents like the one featured in this video are very rare but now is the time to remind motorists of the need to make sure you have carried out proper checks and have loaded the trailer or vehicle correctly.

“We have all sorts travelling on our network including horse boxes, trailer tents and leisure vehicles such as boats and caravans. Our message today is really simple, check it before towing it. So that everyone gets home, safe and well.”

Drivers had to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting the trailer as it bounced across the road. (Picture: Highways England)

Read more: Shocking dashcam video shows driver smashing into lorry after overtaking three cars on a blind bend

Highways England deals with around 4,000 trailer-related incidents a year and says that the most common causes of problems include poorly distributed loads, overloaded trailers, excessive speed, trailers that are too heavy for the towing vehicle, and failing to attach a breakaway cable correctly.

Life-saving checks

Simon Smith, MOT product manager at the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, said: “Trailer safety is all too often overlooked. But safety checks are life-saving and don’t take too long to carry out – watch our clips, social media and read our guidance.

“It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure equipment is fitted and used safely on every journey.”

Secondary or breakaway coupling should always be used. (Picture: Shutterstock)
Secondary or breakaway coupling should always be used. (Picture: Shutterstock)

Along with its warning, Highways England issued some simple steps to take before setting off:

  • reduce the risk of inherent instability by making sure the tow vehicle is suitable for the caravan or trailer load and that it’s correctly loaded, including very importantly that the nose weight is sufficient
  • choose a car and caravan/trailer with stability aids, but don’t rely on them
  • drive within the speed limits for towing – 60mph on a motorway unless signage state slower. Take care when going downhill and/or overtaking
  • reduce speed if conditions are not favourable (e.g. crosswind)
  • when passing or being passed by large vehicles, maximise the separation between themselves and the caravan/trailer by using the available lane width
  • if instability still occurs, do not brake, but instead ease off the accelerator and allow the speed to drop. Let the steering wheel twitch; do not try to steer against the motion of the car. Do not try to accelerate, to ‘pull the outfit straight’. This is likely to result in the return of instability at an even greater speed
  • following an instability scare, check all possible contributory factors, and address any which are not optimum to ensure no recurrence

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August bank holiday travel – warning of record delays as millions hit the roads

Traffic experts have warned that this weekend could see record delays on the roads as drivers make more than 16.5 million leisure trips across the August bank holiday.

The number of planned trips is lower than this May bank holiday but observers are predicting a spike in last-minute breaks as families look to make the most of the forecast improvement in weather.

And experts from traffic analysts Inrix have warned that could lead to record-level hold-ups on some routes.

Busiest routes

Ahead of the start of the getaway the RAC and Inrix have highlighted a number of key routes expected to experience increased traffic and potentially long delays across the whole weekend.

Read more: Britain’s best and worst service stations named

The M1, M6, M25 and A303 are among the roads identified as being most likely to suffer congestion, and the RAC has warned that any breakdowns or collisions could add further significant hold-ups.

Friday and Saturday are expected to see the most additional journeys, totalling around 9.4m, with the extra traffic causing delays of up to an hour on some routes.

Worst routes for delays this August bank holiday

Friday: M25 anticlockwise J4 Bromley to J1 Swanscombe/Dartford: 55-minute delay around 3.15pm.  M6 north J18 Northwich/Chester to J24 St Helens: 54-minute delay around 2pm

Saturday: M6 north J22 Newton/Leigh to J26 Liverpool: 21-minute delay around 3.45pm

Sunday: M25 clockwise J7 Gatwick Airport to J16 (for M40): 26-minute delay around 1.30pm. A303 West Amesbury to A36: 22-minute delay around 5pm

Monday: M6 south J27 Wigan to J13 Stafford south: 61-minute delay around 2.15pm. M25 anticlockwise J10 London/Guildford to J6 East Grinstead: 18-minute delay around 2.45pm

Preventable delays

RAC patrol of the year Ben Aldous said: “For many people, this coming weekend is the last chance to enjoy a long weekend this side of Christmas – and with the weather improving that’s likely to mean a lot of cars on the road heading to popular tourist destinations.

Read more: The 10 best traditional car games for the whole family

“A lot of the breakdowns we expect to see this weekend are preventable, so it’s vital drivers check over their car before setting out. Tyres with plenty of tread and properly inflated are far less likely to cause drivers problems, and it’s crucial that oil and coolant are at the right levels too. All are quick, easy things to check and can save drivers the hassle of a breakdown at the roadside.”

Best/worst times to travel

Day            Worst time to travel    Best time to travel

Friday        11am-6.30pm          After 9pm

Saturday   10.30am-2pm           After 4pm

Sunday      12.30pm-2pm           Before 10.30am, after 6.30pm

Monday     12pm-2.30pm           Before 11am, after 6pm

For tips on how to prepare your car to prevent a breakdown read our guide.

Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at Inrix, added: “Bank holidays have historically been one of the busiest times for road trips, and this year drivers could even see record-level travel delays.

“Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic.”

Roadworks removal

Melanie Clarke, Highways England’s customer service director, said: “We’re doing everything we can to make journeys as smooth as possible and that’s why we’re keeping 97 per cent of the road network we manage, free from roadworks.

“Safety is our top priority and we know from experience that almost half of breakdowns can easily be avoided if motorists carry out simple vehicle checks before setting off over this period.”

Read more: The science behind travel sickness, and how to avoid it

A few simple checks could stop you from being stranded at the roadside. (Picture: Shutterstock)

Top tips for avoiding – or just coping – with the jams

Think carefully about when to travel
Most bank holiday traffic queues are caused by too many cars on the same roads at the same time. If you can travel outside the peak times – think early in the morning or later in the evening – you can easily miss them.

Make sure your vehicle is properly prepared
Many breakdowns are avoidable – punctures for instance can be caused by a tyre that is in poor condition or not inflated properly. Check oil and coolant levels as if these run low you could be in for an unwelcome breakdown and a big repair bill.

Keep you and your passengers happy…
Hungry, thirsty or tired passengers are recipes for in-car irritability – and ‘carguments’ – so pack enough food and water to keep your passengers happy, and plan in enough breaks along the way.

… including your dogs if you are travelling with them
Only use a safe and well-secured pet carrier, and make sure they aren’t hungry when you set off – it’s best to give them a light meal a few hours before leaving. And of course make sure you give your dog exercise if you are going on a long journey – they need to stretch their legs just as much as you do.

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The new Audi RS6 Avant is a 592bhp hybrid monster

Audi has announced details of the latest version of its RS6 super-estate that’s set to take on the likes of the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S when it hits the streets next year.

The latest in a long line of incredibly powerful and incredibly fast Audi estates, the 2020 RS6 Avant is the fourth generation of A6 to receive the tuners’ attention and arrives 25 years after the original RS2 made everyone reconsider what a fast car looks like.

Under the bulging “powerdome” bonnet of the new model sits a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol engine producing a healthy 529bhp and 590lb/ft.

Linked to an eight-speed gearbox and a rear-biased all-wheel-drive transmission, that means the RS6 Avant can reach 62mph in 3.6 seconds and 124mph in just 12 seconds.

Standard cars are limited to a top speed of 155mph but two optional “Dynamic” and “Dynamic Plus” packs will raise that to 174mph or 189mph for those who live on the autobahn.

Audi RS6 Avant

The RS6 features a mild hybrid system for the first time, which recovers energy under braking and can use this for all-electric stop/start up to 13mph or for brief periods of engine-off motorway cruising up to 99mph. It also comes with cylinder deactivation technology that shuts down half the engine’s cylinders under “low to intermediate” loads to improve economy and reduce emissions.

Read more: Buying used: Audi RS6

On its standard air suspension the RS6 sits 2cm closer to the road than the normal A6, dropping another 1cm at speeds of above 74mph. The suspension also allows an extra 2cm lift at the front for negotiating speed bumps.

Six driving modes allow owners to slide between comfort and economy-focused settings to two RS modes (activated by a dedicated button on the steering wheel) that alter the engine, transmission, steering, suspension, differential, engine sound and stability control settings.

Read more: Audi e-tron review

Wrapped around the drivetrain is a heavily modified body which shares just the roof, tailgate and front doors with the standard A6 Avant. Everything else is bespoke for the RS6 thanks largely to a track extension that makes it 8cm wider than the regular car. The headlights are from the A7 range while the aggressive front bumper and air inlets are inspired by the R8.

Audi RS6 Avant boot

Cast aluminium 21-inch wheels are standard, as are steel brakes but 22-inch wheels and carbon ceramic brakes are among the performance options available to buyers.

Inside, expect the usual clean, stylish A6 cabin with added RS embellishments, such as branded sport seats and steering when and model-specific graphics and modes on the digital virtual cockpit.

Orders for the RS6 open this November, with first customer deliveries expect in early 2020. Pricing hasn’t been announced but expect it to start at more than the previous model’s £80,000.

2020 Audi RS6 Avant rear

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Illegal driving instructors are conning students – here’s how to check if your teacher is a fraud

Almost 1,000 fake driving instructors have been reported in the last five years to the body which overseas lessons.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed that 961 allegedly illegal instructors have been reported to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) since 2014.

Instructors must be registered with the DVSA and have passed a series of special test and background checks in order to charge for lessons.

Doing so without DVSA approval is a criminal offence under the Road Traffic Act.

Taking lessons from an unlicensed instructor either intentionally or unwittingly is also potentially dangerous and could prove costly.

Read more: Driving test chiefs deny ‘dangerous’ new manoeuvre is behind a 10-year high in failures

Not only could you be missing out on key instruction and information but you have no guarantee that your “instructor’s” vehicle is roadworthy and, should you be involved in an accident, you’ll have no insurance.

If you’re in a crash while being taught by an unregistered driving instructor you won’t be covered by any insurance. (Picture: Shutterstock)

You also run the risk of encountering an instructor who has not been subject to the proper police background and criminal record checks.

Low conviction rate

There are around 40,000 approved driving instructors registered with the DVSA and it says that it “investigates all reports of illegal driving instruction and seeks the strongest possible punishments”.

Read more: Driving school scams – how learners can avoid being taken for a ride

However, the figures obtained by Hippo Leasing show that prosecutions are extremely low, with just 18 convictions since 2014.

Section 123 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states driving instruction for payment can only be given legally by registered or licensed persons but it can be hard to prove that money has changed hands between student and teacher.

How to spot a dodgy driving instructor

There are two types of licensed driving instructors – a Potential Driving Instructor (PDI) and an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) – and both can legally teach you how to drive.

Both types of instructor must clearly display a valid, in-date badge. For PDIs this is pink, while for ADIs it is green.

Driving instructor badges
All legitimate driving instructors will display one of these two badges

Both badges must carry the instructor’s name, a photograph of them, a valid date and a unique instructor number.

If they don’t have such a badge, they aren’t a legitimate instructor, even if they have other elements such as a dual-control car, roof signs and branding.

Read more: Driving lessons could be recorded on camera after sexual harassment complaints triple

PDIs can legally instruct you and are registered with the DVSA, however, to become an ADI, they must complete three tests set by the DVSA. The fact that potential driving instructors are only allowed three attempts to become licensed means some may resort to teaching illegally if they fail.

Learner drivers can find a DVSA-approved instructor by using this service on GOV.UK.

Threat to learners and the public

A roof sign or dual-control car isn’t proof that an instructor is legitimate. (Picture: Shutterstock)

Tom Preston, managing director of Hippo Leasing commented: “Due to the nature of driving lessons, learners are in a particularly vulnerable position, alone in a car with a stranger for long periods of time. If a driving instructor isn’t approved by the DVSA, there is no guarantee of personal or vehicle safety.”

The DVSA’s head of counter-fraud and investigations, Andy Rice added: “It’s essential that all drivers demonstrate they have the right skills, knowledge and attitude to drive safely and the result of their test is entirely dependent on their performance on the day.

“Illegal driving instructors pose a threat to learners and the general public alike. They often use uninsured vehicles, lack the proper training or are otherwise unfit to instruct the next generation of drivers.

“We have stringent measures in place to detect fraud and bring offenders to justice, and DVSA will always seek the strongest possible punishment.”

Anyone who believes illegal instruction to be taking place is encouraged to report it by calling 03001233248 or emailing

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Bizarre bike made of plane parts leaves police in a flap

A traffic officer with more than a quarter of a century’s experience has described a homemade motorcycle as the “most unusual” thing they have ever seen on the roads.

The officer, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Roads Policing Unit, shared images of the bizarre machine on Twitter after pulling it over on the M25 on Sunday.

Despite its unconventional looks and apparent homemade nature, the officer revealed that it was “all checked and in order” and the owner was allowed to carry on.

A spokeswoman for the force later confirmed that the vehicle was approved for road use and registered with the DVLA.

‘Not convinced I know what it is’

The officer who stopped the vehicle said that even after confirming it was road legal they were “still not convinced I know what it is”.

Another traffic officer described the machine as a homemade electric motorcycle made from “bits of balsa wood and duck [sic] tape” but the force spokeswoman said that it was a “registered as a motorbike” with a shell made mostly of fibreglass and plastic.

Online commentators suggested the bike was made from old aeroplane parts, including a cockpit canopy and a section of wing as its rear bodywork, while others incorrectly suggested it was a post-war Messerschmitt microcar.

Keeping up with traffic

Sgt Stephen Andrews, from the Policing Unit, told the BBC: “This is certainly not a vehicle that is seen very often on our roads but after roadside inspection we couldn’t find anything that would prevent the rider to continue his journey.

“The vehicle was keeping up with other traffic and didn’t cause any obstruction to other road users.

“The owner made sure that he fulfilled all the safety regulation as well as keeping the insurance, MOT and tax in date.”

Despite its amateurish appearance the vehicle was found to be fully road legal. (Picture: BCH Road Policing)

Although it met all the legal requirements for use on the road many online observers weren’t convinced about its appeal.

One respondent to the force’s tweet said: “I wouldn’t be driving that thing on a motorway. Looks like a deathtrap!”, while another questioned how easy it was for other motorists to spot, commenting: “That’s legal on our uk roads? A lorry would never see it. Wow”.

But others were full of praise for the creator’s inventiveness hailing him for “bucking convention” and coming up with a motorbike that kept the driver sheltered from bad weather.

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Morrisons is cutting 5p a litre off fuel for a limited time, here’s how to claim the discount

Supermarket chain Morrisons has announced that it is cutting its fuel prices for customers for a limited period.

The retailer – one of the UK’s biggest fuel suppliers – is offering a 5p per litre reduction on both petrol and diesel at its forecourts between now and the start of September.

To qualify for the discount customers need to spend £40 or more in a single transaction, after which they will be given a voucher that they can redeem the next time they fill up.

Vouchers are being issued from now until Sunday, August 25 but will remain valid until Sunday, September 1.

The deal means a driver filling an average family car’s 55-litre fuel tank can save £2.75 per fill-up.


As is usual with such promotions there are conditions on how you can claim and use the discount voucher.

Read more: Petrol postcode lottery – the most and least affordable fuel across the UK

petrol pump
The offer is valid on petrol, diesel and LPG. (Picture: Shutterstock)

For a start, you’ll only get a voucher for in-store grocery shopping. It’s not available on online purchases. It’s also not available to shoppers in the chain’s Gibraltar store.

You also have to make your in-store purchases before Sunday, August 25 and you’ll only get one voucher per transaction, no matter how much more than £40 you spend.

Certain products also don’t count towards the value of shopping, including fuel, tobacco, Lottery products, gift cards, infant/formula milk, cash-back, dry cleaning, fireworks, online Games and instant tickets, photo printing, saver stamps, postage stamps, mobile phone top-up cards, delivery charges, garden centre, cafe and pharmacy purchases.

Claiming the discount

The vouchers are valid for any single transaction buying petrol, diesel or LPG up to a maximum of 100 litres at a Morrisons-branded filling station (except Gibraltar). They are not valid at Texaco, BP or Esso forecourts with Morrisons concessions.

Read more: How will a no-deal Brexit affect fuel prices?

You can only use one coupon per fill up and they are only valid for one vehicle, so you can’t try and fill two cars in the same transaction.

They also don’t work at pay-at-pump – you have to hand over the coupon at the kiosk.

The offer comes after a jump in petrol prices in July undid much of the savings brought about by a price drop in June.

According to RAC Fuel Watch, the average price of a litre of unleaded currently stands at 128.74p, with diesel at 131.88p.

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Nissan Qashqai review – leader of the pack has catching up to do

Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that crossovers and SUVs are the current golden child in the automotive world.

Plenty of brands claim to have invented the concept but regardless of who came up with the first one, it was Nissan that kicked started the SUV revolution in earnest with the Qashqai.

Quite what it was that made the Qashqai take off in the way it did is hard to pin down but its success is beyond question. Well in excess of two million examples have been sold since its launch in 2007 and it is a permanent fixture on the list of best-selling models in the UK.

2014 saw the launch of an all-new second generation which was then upgraded quite significantly in 2017.

That update brought big visual changes, new driver assistance technology and interior improvements and was followed in late 2018 by a refresh of the engine line-up.

Nissan Qashqai Tekna 1.3

Price: £26,895
Engine: 1.3-litre, four-cylinder, turbo, petrol
Power: 138bhp
Torque: 177lb/ft
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Top speed: 120mph
0-62mph: 10.5 seconds
Economy: 49.6mpg
CO2 emissions: 130g/km

The engine change was driven by changing emissions rules but it has proved a worthwhile one. Borrowed from some-time partner Daimler, it’s the same 1.3-litre unit that appears in the Mercedes A-Class and does as good a job in the Nissan as it does in the Merc.

It might sound relatively small for a car the size of the Qashqai but modern engine technology is mightily impressive and its 138bhp feels perfectly adequate.

In the Qashqai it offers a smooth, quiet and pretty responsive drive. There’s a lack of low-down torque but keep the revs up and it reacts quickly and feels more lively than the on-paper 0-62mph time of 10 seconds would suggest.

Nissan Qashqai dynamic

In our test car that’s helped by the six-speed manual transmission. It’s not as precise as some rivals’ but I still prefer it to the ponderous seven-speed auto that’s also available.

The official economy figure is around 50mpg, which was reflected in our car’s long-term trip computer, although I saw mid-30s thanks to a series of short, economy-ruining journeys.

While rivals like the Seat Ateca and Ford Kuga pride themselves on their “sporty” road manners, the Qashqai is closer to something like the comfort-focused Citroen C5 Aircross. The ride is very pliant, possibly verging on the too soft but it does a good job of offering consistent comfort over some terrible surfaces.

Nissan Qashqai rear

That smoothness is enhanced by decent cabin refinement and space that’s among the best in class.

Unfortunately, the cabin also exposes the Qashqai’s biggest and longest-lasting problem. In the face of high-tech, high-quality modern, clear designs in rivals the Qashqai is a serious letdown. Even 2017’s update failed to address failings in material quality and layout, with brittle, shiny plastics in abundance and a tiny touchsceen with sluggish performance and terrible graphics.

Nissan Qashqai interior

The Qashqai at least makes up ground again with its standard equipment. Our £27,000 Tekna edition features full-LED lights all around, with an adaptive front lighting system; safety and vision packs that load it with forward and rear collision alerts, lane departure warning, emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, blind spot warning and 360-degree parking cameras and parking assistance. An opening panoramic sunroof, 19-inch alloys, part-leather upholstery and a eight-speaker Bose premium stereo also go some way to softening the pain of the interior.

Fundamentally, the Qashqai is a nice driving, fine-riding car but it’s let down badly by its cheap and nasty interior. Perhaps such things shouldn’t matter as much as economy and refinement but as a driver you spend all your time looking at and using the car’s interior features and so many rivals do a better job here than the Nissan.

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New car discounts – the brands offering the biggest bargains

Car dealers are offering an average of £2,595 off the price of new models, with some cutting as much as £10,000 from certain vehicles, according to new research.

New car discounts have been steadily rising since the start of the year, according to the study by What Car?. By the end of June, the average reduction had reached 7.6 per cent as dealers look to stave off a continued drop in new registrations.

However, some dealers have been offering far more than that. Citroen retailers are leading the way with reductions of 11.75 per cent  while Volkswagen is close behind, with average savings of 11 per cent across its model range.

In fact, VW’s Passat is the most heavily discounted model – with What Car?’s mystery shoppers securing a 22.62 per cent discount – equivalent to £5,767 – on the entry-level S trim Passat 1.5 TSI.

Buyers can get up to 22% off certain versions of the VW Passat

Vauxhall dealers offered the third-biggest savings, with three models in the list of 10 best deals and popular models such as the soon-to-be-replaced Astra discounted by more than £4,500 at the end of June.

10 biggest discounts by brand (average)

  1. Citroen – 11.75%
  2. Volkswagen – 11.12%
  3. Vauxhall – 10.52%
  4. Seat – 10.24%
  5. Smart – 9.65%
  6. Mercedes-Benz – 8.7%
  7. Ford – 8.27%
  8. Volvo – 8.17%
  9. Mitsubishi – 7.94%
  10. BMW – 7.88%

Premium savings

Premium brands were also found to be offering significant savings on some models, with Mercedes, Volvo and BMW offering reductions of between eight and nine per cent, and Jaguar dealers cutting 16 per cent off the luxury XJ.

At the opposite end of the table budget brand Dacia was found to offer virtually no discount at all. What Car?’s buyers managed to eke an average cut of just 0.96 per cent from dealers, who already sell the UK’s cheapest car – the £6,995 Sandero.

Dacia is the brand least likely to offer a discount

Read more: 2019 scrappage schemes – here are the manufacturers offering discounts on new cars

Other low-price brands SsangYong and MG were also unlikely to offer buyers much of a discount, while premium manufacturers Land Rover and Lexus offered customers between three and four per cent off on average.

Turbulent market

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: “In this turbulent market we cannot stress enough the importance of doing your research when buying your next car. Some brands are offering buyers large savings, while others are using different tactics.

10 smallest discounts by brand (average)

  1. Dacia – 0.96%
  2. SsangYong – 1.86%
  3. MG – 2.49%
  4. Infiniti –  2.87%
  5. Land Rover – 3.33%
  6. Subaru – 3.66%
  7. Mazda – 3.68%
  8. Lexus – 4.28%
  9. DS – 4.2%
  10. Toyota – 4.23%

“Interestingly, there is a split between premium brands. BMW and Mercedes-Benz, for example, tend to offer big discounts, while Land Rover and Lexus are pursuing a policy of smaller price reductions.”

The growing discounts come as the new car market continues to struggle. New car registrations fell by 4.1 per cent in July – the fifth consecutive monthly decline – and year-on-year they are down 3.5 per cent, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

While diesel registrations fell 22 per cent in July and plug-in hybrids were down 50 per cent, petrol registrations climbed by 2.6 per cent and pure-electric cars soared 158 per cent, although they still represent just 1.4 per cent of the market.

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Queen reign supreme with country’s most popular driving tune

Queen’s 1979 hit Don’t Stop Me Now has been named the most motivational driving song of all time by British motorists.

In a survey of drivers of all ages, the rock anthem came out ahead of tunes from Survivor, Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga and Pharrell Williams, as the nation’s number one, with singer Freddie Mercury also named the most inspirational artist.

The poll of drivers by tyre brand Goodyear found that almost half (46 per cent) cited him as the greatest musical icon, ahead of Aretha Franklin (24 per cent) and Prince (19 per cent).

The survey also found that four fifths of drivers feel that music is a motoring necessity for them, with an antisocial 66 per cent saying they would rather listen to music than chat to friends or family.

Stress reliever

The UK’s top five motivational driving songs

  1. Don’t Stop Me Now; Queen (42%)
  2. Eye of the Tiger; Survivor (28%)
  3. Livin’ on a Prayer; Bon Jovi (26%)
  4. Simply the Best; Tina Turner (23%)
  5. Happy; Pharrell Williams (18%)

Nearly two-thirds (60 per cent) put entertainment value to the forefront but almost half (45 per cent) also said that listening to music while driving helped them to de-stress, and a quarter said it helped motivate them on the way to work.

While rock tunes from Queen, Bon Jovi and Survivor topped the list of most motivational tues, pop proved to be the most popular genre overall, voted the most motivational genre of driving music by 47 per cent of motorists, followed by rock (34 per cent) and dance music (15 per cent). By contrast, techno (three per cent), grime (two per cent) and dubstep (one per cent) were found to be the least motivational genres.

Read more: Heavy metal and classical music ‘bad for driver behaviour’

Freddie Mercury
Almost half of those questioned named Queen’s Freddie Mercury as the most inspirational musician of all time. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A vital role

Andy Marfleet from Goodyear Tyres commented: “As a nation we spend a huge amount of time in our cars, and it’s clear from our research that music plays a vital role in keeping drivers motivated whilst on the road.

“Whether it’s the motorists who use their driving music to pump themselves up for a day at work, or those who say it winds them down when feeling stressed, we wanted to see how we could help the UK’s drivers achieve the best frame of mind when on the road so they are inspired to start something great when they do eventually arrive at their destination.”

Read more: Drivers could be fined £100 for playing music too loudly

To help drivers stay motivated behind the wheel Goodyear has compiled a playlist featuring drivers’ top five tunes plus everything from Elvis and Beyonce to Steps and John Denver.

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Review: Moshi SnapTo Magnetic Car Mount

Price: £39.95 and iGlaze case for iPhone 7 Plus in Pearl White, £34.95

It’s been a while since I’ve used a car mount. For the last couple of years I’ve been more of a ‘chuck the phone into the little spot under the stereo for your loose change’ kind of a guy, partly because I’m often testing newly-released models with Apple Car Play, but also because the last car mount I used had a spring and pressure grip and it burst into pieces when I tried to fit it around my iPhone 7 Plus.

The Moshi SnapTo mount comes with a case with two metal tabs that fit into the back and the phone just snaps to the magnetic plate – no exploding springs in sight.

The case comes separately and there are a variety of options – some pretty stylish – ranging from £29.95 – £44.95. They can be bought as part of a bundle with the mount at a £10 discount.

I don’t totally get why there is assembly required for the case – you have to stick the adhesive metal mounting points into the case yourself – but it’s really simple to do, and after 30 seconds for the adhesive to dry you’re good to go.

There are two options for mounting the base unit to your vehicle. The first, and simplest, is to slot the grips into your car air vents. If that’s not an option for you, there’s an adhesive pad that can fix to the dashboard itself – but it needs to be a pretty flat surface. The adhesive can hold up to 1 kg of weight and is strong enough for four iPhones – although why you’d want to do that is beyond me.

Moshi SnapTo mount

The dashboard of my 13-year-old Mondeo is all lumps and bumps, so the adhesive mount was out for me. Instead I used the vent grip. The phone looked a bit precarious once mounted and I was half expecting it to clatter to the footwell at the first pothole.

Despite a slight wobble, it held my 188g phone securely for the entire test, surviving pitted country roads and offshoots of the North Coast 500, suburban speed bumps and emergency stops.

For an extra £20, you can get a version of the mount that supports wireless charging. If you buy that version the mount needs to plug into a power supply so there’s a cable to think about anyway – strikes me you might be better to just save the cash and plug the lightning cable straight from your phone to the power supply, but I’m a notorious cheapskate.


Both versions support landscape viewing and the unit feels no less stable for being in a landscape, rather than portrait mode.

In all, the Moshi mount is easy to use, does its job well and with its dual mounting options will be compatible with most cars. It is expensive though particularly if you go for one of the more high-end looking cases.

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Shocking dashcam video shows driver smashing into lorry after overtaking three cars on a blind bend

This is the shocking moment a driver smashes into the back of a lorry after attempting to overtake three cars on a blind bend.

Scott Lowe, 30, told police he crossed the double white lines because he was in a rush, before admitting he had “been an idiot”.

Terrifying footage shows Lowe ploughing his Seat Ibiza into an HGV to avoid a head-on smash with another lorry travelling in the opposite direction.

Last week, Lowe, of Chesterfield, admitted dangerous driving at North Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court.

He was handed a one year community order, given 240 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay a total of £170 in court costs and victim surcharge.

Lowe was driving along the A54 Snake Pass between Buxton and Congleton in Derbyshire at 8.30am on 14 May when he tried to overtake three cars on a bend.

As he crossed over the solid white line a lorry travelling in the opposite direction forced him to slam on his brakes and collide with the back of another lorry.

dash cam crash

Incredibly, no-one was hurt in the crash and Lowe escaped with minor injuries.

PC Kev Harrell, of Derbyshire Police, who was first at the scene of the collision, said: “It is only through good fortune that nobody was seriously injured, or even killed, as a result of Scott Lowe’s actions.

“When I attended the scene I asked Lowe what had happened and he replied that he had ‘been an idiot’, that he was ‘in a rush’ and thought he had space to overtake – clearly he did not.

‘A huge gamble’

“Scott Lowe took a huge gamble with his own life and the lives of the other road users that morning – all because he was in a rush.

“Any road can be fatal, however, the A54 has a reputation as being a dangerous route.

“If people did not drive in a manner similar to that of Scott Lowe then I have no doubt that reputation would diminish.

“My message to drivers is simple – follow the clear signposting and road markings, drive in a manner suitable for the conditions and leave enough time for your journey.

“Should you fail to heed that advice then know that I and my colleagues will seek to prosecute all those that put themselves, and others, at risk.”

This story first appeared in our sister title the Lancashire Post

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Why is my firewall stopping my TomTom sat nav from updating?

I ran into all sorts of difficulties recently when I tried to update my Tomtom Go 610 sat nav. I ended up ringing customer support, and the helpful man explained that the problem lay with the antivirus/firewall built into my Windows 10 laptop. He suggested the easy way to solve the problem was use a Windows 7 computer which I happened to have but was thinking of dumping. He was right, but how do others with just Windows 10 manage?  Barry, Overton

I ran your issue past TomTom, who confirmed that the problem is directly related to the security running on the machine, rather than the Windows 10 software.

“There are a few elements which can cause problems depending on how the port configuration, https settings and so on are configured,” they said.

“Changing computers is a viable option but it would not really make a difference which OS [operating system] it’s running. People can always make exceptions in their security protocol but this is outside TomTom’s support boundaries.”

The good news is it should be fairly easy to adjust your firewall’s settings to allow your sat nav’s MyDriveConnect computer program to download and install the software onto your device.

“All the communication (inbound and outbound, local and remote) via the following TCP ports should be allowed,” the spokesperson said, adding that the TCP port was most important.

The main communication port should be configured to 80, HTTPS (required for logins, associations and all kind of encrypted contents) should be configured to 443,  Internal communication ports should be configured to 3128, 3129 and the web connector port of MyDrive (to communicate with the browser) should be set to 4000.

Hopefully this is helpful and you’ll be able to connect next time you need to update your software without issue.

Send Rhiannon your tech queries at

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‘My back bad and the car not sold’: The virtues of keeping your liberty MOT’d and on the drive

The dog dead and the car sold.

That line is by Roger McGough and it comes from a poem about a very old couple. It has haunted me for the past few weeks because I have been thinking of getting rid of my car. That would, of course, be good for the planet and for everyone who would rather not breathe in traffic fumes. However, my principal motive is less altruistic. For the past seven months I have suffered from a back problem that is exacerbated by driving. My husband has never learned to drive. The car has been sitting outside our house, taxed, insured, MOTed and doing nothing, like a greedy and idle pet.

Even before the back trouble, I hadn’t been driving very much. In 2007, when I judged the Booker prize, I realised that travelling by train would allow me some much-needed reading time. With a senior railcard it worked out cheaper, too, and it was less tiring. The main snag was luggage.

Day trips were fine but anything involving a suitcase could be problematic. There are still far too many stations you can’t get out of without climbing up and down a lot of stairs. I could manage with difficulty but I became acutely aware of the obstacles disabled people face when they are travelling.

The joy of taxis

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‘I’ve saved £280 on my car insurance’: Would you be better off on a pay-as-you go policy?

Since then, I’ve mainly used the car for short journeys near my home. Recently, we’ve had to take taxis instead. Leaving aside the expense, I have found that life is a whole lot better with taxis than with driving myself.

A taxi comes to your house and drops you where you want to go. You don’t have to think in advance about where you’re going to park or worry about finding a space. It won’t matter if it rains because you’re not going to be out in the open for more than half a minute. You don’t have the responsibility of driving a lethal weapon, knowing that a stupid mistake could have terrible consequences for you or for someone else. You don’t have to worry about breaking down.

If I didn’t have a car at all, I wouldn’t have to pay for repairs. And I could afford lots of taxis. So I’ve fantasised about selling the car. I got valuations from a couple of websites and discovered it is worth slightly more than I expected. One website, when it didn’t hear from me, raised its offer. But I haven’t been able to make the drastic decision.

The dog dead and the car sold.

The couple in the poem are waiting for the end. It feels too final. My back might get better. I might even begin to enjoy driving again. After more than 50 years as a car owner, I am afraid I might feel as if I’ve lost a limb.

Expensive deadlines

An apprentice mechanic works on a car with his trainer on 24 February 2016 (AFP/Getty Images)
An apprentice mechanic works on a car with his trainer on 24 February 2016 (AFP/Getty Images)

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Car insurance price hike: our tips to keep costs down by choosing your car wisely or switching your policy

The deadline was in July, when my insurance was due to be renewed. As a loyal customer, I knew I was being ripped off but I’ve mostly been too busy to do anything about it. I have occasionally tried comparison websites but you have to choose from a list of occupations on a drop-down menu and mine is never there.

Obviously I wouldn’t expect “poet” and I wouldn’t think it a good idea to own up to that anyway. “Author” isn’t available and even “writer” is problematic. You get offered “copywriter” or “screenwriter” but not plain “writer”. Sometimes they also want to know the nature of your business. “Literature” isn’t an option. Nor is “books”. “Publishing” is on offer, as is “bookselling”, but that’s not what I do. If you lie to an insurance company, your insurance isn’t valid. So I end up remembering that my time is worth something and stick with the company that is ripping me off.

This time I tried Direct Line, which, as you’ll know if you watch enough television, is not on comparison websites. Its drop-down menu allowed me to say I’m a writer. It even allowed me to say I’m an author. Hallelujah. And the quote was half of what I’ve been paying. I’ve decided to keep the car for another year and spend less money on it.

One good result of the months of taxis is that I’m now less afraid of losing my licence. I’ve reached the age when you have to fill in a form every three years with details of your health. This is sensible but it is also a source of considerable anxiety to some of my contemporaries. Last year I had to admit I fainted on one occasion in 2016, which meant filling in a long form and waiting while DVLA wrote to my doctor.

Sooner or later, DVLA may make the decision for me. Or the next expensive deadline – the big service, the road licence – may cause me to reconsider. There’s a part of me that really wants to sell the car. There’s another part of me that doesn’t want to be like McGough’s old couple.

WH Auden famously said that poetry makes nothing happen but it seems it is helping to make something not happen.

The dog dead and the car sold.

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How you can avoid being the victim of road rage, according to a road safety expert

A road safety specialist has offered guidance to drivers on how to change their behaviour in order to reduce their chances of becoming a road rage victim.

GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging drivers to protect themselves by being alert to early signs of road rage and Neil Worth, road safety officer at GEM, has offered five pieces of advice for drivers to consider in the hope of avoiding confrontation on the roads.

Neil comments: “Most of us will have some experience of being on the receiving end of someone else’s aggression. Thankfully, violent and unprovoked attacks are rare, but it pays to be observant and if possible to recognise signs of trouble at their earliest stages.”

“We encourage drivers to leave plenty of time for their journeys, which means they can feel calm and in control at the wheel. Stress can lead to risk taking, and this in turn increases the likelihood of aggressive incidents.

“We also urge drivers to avoid becoming involved in situations they recognise as dangerous or risky. If you’re worried about another driver who may be in danger, then stop and call the police.”

Read more: Jaw-dropping dash cam video shows car flipped onto its roof in 100mph road rage crash

How serious an issue is road rage in the UK?

Road rage incidents can be extremely distressing for victims. The RAC reported in December 2018 that almost half of UK drivers had been a victim of road rage (43 per cent), with female drivers most likely to be targeted. Eighty per cent of women responding to the RAC survey said that the incident ‘stayed with them’ hours after the incident itself, while 63 per cent of men agreed.

As well as being distressing, aggressive behaviour on the roads can be fatal. Department for Transport figures from 2018 showed that more than 5,000 people were either killed or injured in collisions where aggressive driving was a contributing factor in a three-year period.

Commenting on the RAC  report, Richard Gladman, head of driving and riding standards at road safety charity IAM Roadsmart, called on motorists to look at their own behaviour, saying: “Road rage does not affect everyone every day. If you’re finding it is happening very often, you might want to think about how you engage with other road users.”

How can I avoid being a victim of road rage?

While victims should not feel that they are at fault if they have been targeted by an aggressive driver, here are some behaviours that Neil Worth, from GEM, says can help you avoid becoming a victim:

  • Keep calm and show restraint. Every journey brings the risk of frustration and conflict. Make a pledge to be patient. Avoid using your horn or making gestures in anger.
  • Avoid competition and resist the desire to ‘get even’. If the standard of someone else’s driving disappoints you, don’t attempt to educate or rebuke them.
  • Don’t push into traffic queues. If you wait and clearly signal, you won’t wait long before another drive lets you in.
Busy traffic in the UK
Waiting for someone to let you change lanes is less likely to annoy other drivers. Credit: Shutterstock
  • Say thank you, say sorry. Courtesy encourages co-operation on the road. If you make a mistake (and we all do!) or perhaps cut things a bit fine, then a gesture of apology avoids confrontation and helps defuse anger.
  • Move away from trouble. If you feel seriously threatened by another driver, then ensure your car doors are locked and drive (at legal speed) to the nearest police station or busy area (petrol station forecourts are ideal). Use your mobile phone to alert the police. Pressing the horn repeatedly or continuously is likely to deter a potential attacker.

I’m an angry driver, how can I avoid succumbing to my rage?

If a significant proportion of British drivers are reporting that they have been victims of road rage, it stands to reason that many have also been the perpetrator. Advice from the RAC on how to avoid becoming the wrongdoer in a road rage incident is markedly similar to the advice on how to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Stay calm, and if you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed by the stress of a drive, consider pulling over.
  • Don’t retaliate to aggressive or bad driving.
  • Ignore aggressive behaviour from other road users. It’s safer to let someone past rather than matching a dangerous driver’s behaviour.
  • Acknowledge your mistakes and even if you’re not in the wrong, consider apologising.

Read more: Stressed? Here’s the best advice on coping that science has to offer

How to deal with the stress of Brexit, according to a psychologist

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Boris Johnson: UK-US trade deal will be a ‘tough old haggle’

Brokering a transatlantic trade deal won’t be easy but can be done, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday.

“It will be a tough old haggle, but we’ll get there,” Johnson told Sky News.

“In my experience, the Americans are very tough negotiators indeed,” he said, adding that the U.S. market “is growing very fast for the U.K., but they still ban haggis, for heaven’s sake.”

Johnson also said reaching a post-Brexit deal with the EU will be most important.

“The single biggest deal that we need to do is a free trade agreement with our friends and partners over the Channel.”

Johnson’s comments come a day after John Bolton, U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, said during a visit to the U.K. that the two countries could broker sector-by-sector deals to reach bilateral agreements “very quickly, very straightforwardly.”

Bolton’s comments have been dismissed by trade experts, who say piecemeal deals based on tariff reductions in one sector would not comply with World Trade Organization rules.

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BMW to accelerate through Brexit crunch at electric Mini plant

BERLIN — German automaker BMW will move ahead with plans to produce an electric version of its iconic Mini at a factory in Oxford from November, despite potential post-Brexit chaos in importing key components from the Continent.

While the e-Mini will be put together at the Cowley site, which employs around 4,500 people and already builds the conventionally fuelled Mini, the drivetrain — a crucial part transferring power to the car’s wheels — will still be imported from southern Germany.

That means any problems with shipping parts from the Continent after a possible no-deal Brexit on October 31 could impact BMW’s ability to deliver the vehicle in large numbers. Company officials have previously hinted at plans to move some production of the conventional Mini to the Netherlands depending on the terms of Brexit, but for now executives are sticking with the e-Mini Oxford plan.

“The November start of production date [has] been in the plan for years and from long before the Brexit deadline reset, so this is no more than a coincidence,” Graham Biggs, a U.K.-based BMW director, told POLITICO, adding that BMW would “have to work around” any potential disruption caused by a disorderly Brexit on October 31.

The e-Mini is a key component of BMW’s broader electric shift, which was recently ramped up to include at least 25 new models by 2023. Around 45,000 customers have registered interest in buying the car, according to Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, almost half of whom are in the U.K.

At present, BMW imports about €2 billion worth of car parts into the U.K. from the EU every year to feed its production. In advance of the previously expected Brexit date of March 29, BMW scheduled an annual maintenance shutdown to mitigate any expected disruption at major import terminals around April 1, a feat it doesn’t plan to repeat this time.

BMW Customs Manager Stephan Freismuth said earlier this year that stockpiling beyond just a few days would not be feasible either. “We are producing ‘just in time,’ and just in sequence,” Freismuth said.

BMW’s outgoing CEO Harald Krüger has called for a meeting with U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss Brexit and to mitigate any risk, while his incoming replacement, Oliver Zipse, is a former plant manager in Oxford.

Matthias Schmidt, a Berlin-based automotive analyst, reckons BMW might benefit from any loss of value of the pound and if things get really bad, it may choose to start “clandestinely shifting more production to the EU” and maintain just a modest output in the U.K. to serve the local market.

“The problem for BMW is that [the Mini’s] heritage and DNA belongs well and truly to the U.K.,” said Schmidt. “So the option to up sticks and shift the facility to mainland Europe doesn’t necessarily come into question.”

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