Bailiwicks braced for 'knife-edge' Brexit vote

Businesses in the Channel Islands are gearing up efforts to open new trade links with France, ahead of this weekend's Brexit vote in the UK parliament.

On Saturday 19 October MPs will vote on the deal Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed with the EU.

In Jersey, a new group made up of business representatives, including Jersey Business and the Chamber of Commerce have been meeting with their counterparts from the Brittany and Normandy regions.

Murray Norton says Brexit should not provide a barrier to trade. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Plans for a new air link between the islands and Rennes Airport, as well as extra sea links, are being developed, with a senior French business leader visiting Jersey.

Bertrand Gervais is keen to see closer ties between the Channel Islands and Brittany. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Mr Gervais and his team have also been meeting with officials in Guernsey.

Kay Leslie from Guernsey's Chamber of Commerce believes better links with France could be good for business and could help solve ongoing staff shortages, particularly in the hospitality trade.

Kay Leslie believes closer ties would be beneficial to offset potential impacts of Brexit on Guernsey. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Politically, the governments of Jersey and Guernsey say they are continuing to work on their no deal Brexit plans while preferring that the UK strikes a deal for a so-called 'managed' exit.

The Chief Minister of Guernsey says the Brexit vote is likely to be a close one. Credit: ITV Channel TV

Meanwhile, it is today been confirmed both Jersey and Guernsey will be formally represented by the UK at the World Trade Organisation after any exit from the European Union is complete.

It follows months of negotiations between officials in the islands and at Westminster.