Date
17 January 2019
A demonstrator holds a placard during an anti-Brexit protest opposite the Houses of Parliament in London on December 17. Photo: Reuters
A demonstrator holds a placard during an anti-Brexit protest opposite the Houses of Parliament in London on December 17. Photo: Reuters

British govt to activate full ‘no-deal’ Brexit preparation

The British government said on Tuesday that it will implement plans for a no-deal Brexit in full and begin telling businesses and citizens to prepare for the risk of leaving the European Union without an agreement, Reuters reports.

Those plans include setting aside space on ferries to ensure a regular flow of medical supplies and keeping 3,500 armed forces personnel ready to support the government with its contingency plans.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May was quoted as saying that while the government’s priority remains leaving with a deal, which was the most likely scenario, it will now implement its no-deal plans “in full”.

“Cabinet agreed … we have now reached the point where we need to ramp up these preparations. This means we will now set in motion the remaining elements of our no-deal plans,” he said.

“Cabinet also agreed to recommend businesses now also ensure they are similarly prepared, enacting their own no-deal plans as they judge necessary. Citizens should also prepare,” the spokesman added.

Following up on a no-deal guidance issued earlier this year, further detailed advice will be published soon.

The opposition Labour Party’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said the government is “running down the clock”.

“No deal has never truly been a viable option, it is a political hoax, and deep down I think the government and this prime minister knows it,” he told parliament.

With just over 100 days until Britain is due to leave the EU, May is yet to win the support of a deeply divided parliament for the deal she struck last month with Brussels to maintain close ties with the bloc.

She has said a delayed vote on her deal will take place in mid-January, prompting some lawmakers to accuse her of trying to force parliament into backing her by running down the clock as the March 29 exit day approaches, Reuters noted.

No deal means there would be no transition, so the exit would be abrupt, a nightmare scenario for international businesses and the dream of hard Brexiteers who want a decisive split.

May, who last week survived a confidence vote in her Conservative Party, has warned lawmakers that the alternatives to her deal are leaving without an agreement or no Brexit.

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RC

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