ALL GUNS BLAZING FOR NO-DEAL BREXIT
PM tells civil servants to ‘rapidly’ prepare for exit on October 31
BORIS Johnson issued a direct warning to Whitehall mandarins last night that they must make preparations for a no-deal Brexit “top priority”.
The Prime Minister insisted that the October 31 departure date will be met as he vowed to restore trust in democracy.
Mr Johnson told civil servants he wanted them to be in “no doubt” that he is absolutely committed to sticking to the exit date.
He is also gearing up to become the People’s Prime Minister by holding regular question and answer sessions with the public online.
Voters are expected to be given their first chance to bypass MPs to hold the premier to account directly within weeks.
Mr Johnson trialled the system successfully during a half-hour grilling on social media site Facebook during the Conservative leadership
campaign. All holiday leave has been cancelled for government advisers.
The Prime Minister said he still wanted to secure a new withdrawal agreement with Brussels but the default exit date will be met whatever the circumstances.
After three years of uncertainty, delivering Brexit is the “only way to move forward” and put an end to division in the country, he said.
Mr Johnson said he was “fully committed” to leaving the EU by October 31 and “getting a grip” on crucial domestic issues such as the NHS, education and crime.
In a letter to all civil servants, the Prime Minister wrote: “My approach to Brexit is simple, and I want you to be in no doubt about it.
“We must restore trust in our democracy, and fulfil the repeated promises of Parliament to the people, by coming out of the European Union on 31 October.We will be leaving on this date, whatever the circumstances.
“I would very much prefer to leave with a deal – one that must abolish the anti-democratic Irish backstop, which has unacceptable consequences for our country.
“But I recognise this may not happen. That is why preparing urgently for the possibility of an exit without a deal will be my top priority, and it will be the top priority for the Civil Service too.”
Mr Johnson said the Government must “engage” with the British people about what its plans for “taking back control mean, what people and businesses need to do, and the support we will provide”.
Sir Edward Lister, the premier’s chief of staff, cancelled all leave for government advisers until October 31. In an email, he told them there had been “some confusion about taking holiday” but none should be booked until after departure day.
He added: “There is serious work to be done between now and October 31 and we should be focused on the job.” A Government source said that the decision reflected Mr Johnson’s determination to ensure the country was fully prepared for Brexit.
“The Government has been very clear that it has got to deliver exit from the EU on October 31, with or without a deal,” the source said.
“One of the ways to get Whitehall working is through special advisers.”
Boris Johnson is ‘committed’