‘UK prepares contingency plans for no-deal Brexit possibility’
Britain is drawing up contingency plans in case its Brexit negotiations with the European Union (EU) fail, a minister said yesterday as speculation mounted that the withdrawal process could start this week.
Brexit minister David Davis said it was in “everybody’s interests that we get a good outcome”, but said the government was “planning for the contingency, all the various outcomes”.
He was speaking after MPs warned that ministers must prepare for the possibility that, with EU treaties allowing just two years to agree a new relationship, Britain might well leave without a deal.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said she was optimistic about settling the divorce and a new trade agreement with the EU within the timeframe, but would walk away rather than accept a bad deal.
The cross-party parliamentary foreign affairs committee said this “represents a very destructive outcome leading to mutually assured damage for the EU and the UK”, citing economic losses and legal confusion.
Davis told the BBC he did not think that was “remotely likely”.
A bill empowering May to trigger Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty and begin the withdrawal process returns to the House of Commons today for debate.
Without further opposition, it could pass the House of Lords that night. After it is rubberstamped by Queen Elizabeth II, May could start Brexit at any point.
Asked when the process might start, Davis said “in theory it’s the point at which you have royal assent”.