Senior UK government sources are very pessimistic about
a Brexit deal being secured this week.
This means a November Brexit summit now looks very
No-deal contingency plans will reportedly have to begin
being put in place from Thursday.
The prospects of a disastrous Brexit scenario looks
more likely than ever.
LONDON — “I wouldn’t go getting your hopes up.” That was the
verdict of one senior UK government official when asked whether a
Brexit deal is set to be agreed this week.
“It’s not impossible there will be a breakthrough,” the source
added unconvincingly. “But there isn’t one at the moment.”
After a long weekend of negotiations, which extended well into
the early hours of Monday morning, both sides seem little closer
to reaching an agreement. Cabinet, set to meet on Tuesday will
not have an agreement to ratify, just as they didn’t have one
last week, or the week before that.
And this means that unless something dramatic changes in the next
two days then Britain is hurtling rapidly towards the Brexit
That means three things:
- The promised November EU summit to finalise a Brexit
withdrawal deal will almost certainly now not happen and the deal
will get pushed back until December.
- This is just three months away from Brexit, which means
a no-deal scenario — for a long time ruled out as a near
impossibility in Westminster — will rapidly become the baseline
- It also means emergency plans to route shipping through
alternative ports as Dover grinds to a halt, will have to
from Thursday) meaning everything from the manufacturing
sector to aviation, to finance becoming increasingly gripped by
Even if a deal can be broken in the coming week, the difficulties
of getting that deal through parliament, after the resignation of
yet another Conservative minister on Friday, look greater than
Put simply, the route for May to get a deal that can pass through
her cabinet and parliament looks narrower than ever before and
that means the smart money should increasingly be placed on a
There is an assumption in politics that everything will
ultimately be alright in the end. The public, particularly in a
peaceful and prosperous country such as the United Kingdom,
assumes that politicians will knuckle down and do what has to be
done to prevent economic or political catastrophe.
But as plenty of other nations around the world have discovered
over the years, sometimes bad things happen to good countries.
Sometimes the clock runs out. Sometimes solutions cannot be
There is still time for May to solve the Brexit conundrum. As one
senior government source has told BI: “If things do fall into
place, then they will fall quite quickly,”
However, the time for a Brexit deal to “fall into place” is
rapidly running out, and right now the prospects for an orderly
Brexit look worse than ever before.
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