ALL GUNS BLAZ­ING FOR NO-DEAL BREXIT

PM tells civil ser­vants to ‘rapidly’ pre­pare for exit on Oc­to­ber 31

Daily Express - - FRONT PAGE - By Sam Lis­ter Deputy Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor

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’

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