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In a turbulent month for Brexit, how is it affecting people's lives?

It’s been a turbulent month for Brexit, but often what gets lost in the talk of meaningful and indicative votes is that this is affecting people’s lives.

The Tonight programme has been following Brexit from before the referendum, and over the last month we’ve returned to some of those we’ve met along the way.

  • Stockpiling

We first met Frederika Roberts just days after the referendum. She was in shock - angry and upset.

When we caught up with her at the end of February, fearing no deal, she’d started stockpiling food and essentials.

“I don't think that anybody could have predicted just how awful things would actually get,” says Frederika.

“If people started panic buying, you don’t know what’s going to run out.

“There's these moments where we make a list on the whiteboard of things we still need to buy and we then just stop and look at each other and say: 'Are we really doing this?’"

She’s even bought a Eurostar ticket to get out of the country in case there’s civil unrest.

“This is not war time," she said. "None of this is compulsory and yet we're doing these things that just seem so insane.”

  • No deal? No problem
Washing machine factory owner John Elliot wants Britain to leave without a deal to help spur the economy. Credit: ITV / Tonight

But while some are battening down the hatches, others aren’t concerned.

John Elliott runs a washing machine factory in Teesside. He wants Britain to leave without a deal, saying it will spur the country into rebuilding manufacturing and reset the economy.

“We've got to run the UK for the good of the UK. The status quo isn't working,” he says.

  • Job losses
Jack Ehlers' office recently moved to Europe and has since only hired people from the region. Credit: ITV / Tonight

But business groups the CBI and FSB say there would be serious consequences for jobs if we left with no deal.

Tonight first visited e-payments firm PPRO in 2017. Then they were thinking of moving roles to Europe, and now it’s happened.

“I was expecting that there would be more certainty in terms of the Brexit plan,” says Jack Ehlers, who is running the new Luxembourg office. The unknown meant they had to act.

“We certainly have lost British jobs in the sense that all of our new hires have been people here in this region. They've been from Luxembourg, or France or Germany or Belgium.”

  • Uncertainty
For farmer Richard Tudor, a no deal could mean that he won't be allowed to sell lambs to Europe. Credit: ITV / Tonight

Concerns about uncertainty are hitting all sorts of sectors.

Richard Tudor is a farmer in North Wales. Two years ago he was worried that farmers would become a bargaining chip in the negotiations.

He’s now frustrated that Brexit has only been delayed by a fortnight and we could be heading for no deal.

Nearly half of UK lambs are sold to Europe, but after no deal they could be banned under EU rules.

It means millions being born this month could go unsold and be needlessly slaughtered.

Richard says: “The only thing the House of Commons and Europe agree on is that no deal would be terrible for the country and terrible for Europe and we might land up with (it) - what sort of democracy is that?”

  • Take back control
Paul's warehouse company has been in demand but feels the government and MPs 'have not done their job.' Credit: ITV / Tonight

The House of Commons took control of the Brexit process this week.

As MPs prepared to vote on what kind of Brexit they may be able to back, we returned to freight company owner Paul Johnson.

We first spoke to Paul before the referendum, when he explained how vital his industry is to the country, saying: “85% of everything that’s sold in the UK goes on the back of a lorry at some point."

Today his company is in demand as businesses desperately look for warehousing space to hold more stock in case of no deal.

He wants a solution now.

“We had a referendum, it was quite clear, whether you agree with it or you don’t, that we should leave Europe and they've had three years to try and solve that and they haven't. All they've ended with is total disarray," he said.

“They're having these votes on, you know, on what may or may not happen to try and take control away from the prime minister. If … we get soft Brexit, the can just gets kicked down the road or we have another referendum, the majority of people are going think that we've been cheated.

“And the government and the MPs have not done their job.”

  • Brexit: The End Game - Tonight is broadcast on Thursday 28 March at 7.30pm on ITV