Theresa May will push the button on no deal Brexit
planning if there is no breakthrough in talks this
UK and EU negotiators are still a long way from a
withdrawal deal in Brussels.
The EU wants the UK to accept some single market rules
as part of the backstop for avoiding a hard Irish
Cabinet will meet on Tuesday to discuss the precarious
state of Brexit talks.
LONDON — Theresa May is on the brink of officially triggering
contingency plans for a no deal Brexit with the chances of
negotiators in Brussels agreeing on a withdrawal deal this week
looking increasingly slim.
Thursday, November 15 is reportedly the deadline for
the UK government to confirm no deal measures like the hiring of
boats for importing vital products plus the stockpiling of
medicines and pharmaceutical goods.
This means that unless May is unable to put a provisional
Withdrawal Agreement before ministers at the Cabinet’s next
meeting on Tuesday, there almost certainly won’t be an EU summit
this month to finalise the UK’s exit.
A no deal Brexit would cause severe disruption across
multiple facets of day to day British life. New border checks
could lead to shortages of food and medicines, ministers have
warned, while planes could be grounded.
Despite talk of an imminent breakthrough in Brussels, there are
still major issues to be resolved in Brexit talks relating to the
backstop policy for avoiding a hard border between Northern
Ireland and the Republic.
Brussels has said it will let the UK stay in a customs union with
the EU as part of the backstop proposal, as May requested.
However, the UK wants the right to unilaterally pull out of this
arrangement, which Brussels will not allow.
A senior UK government source
told Business Insider on Monday that they were pessimistic
about the prospects of a deal this week.
The source said that a deal would need to be secured by the end
of play on Wednesday, if a summit was to be agreed this month.
However, they added that: “I wouldn’t go getting your hopes
Brexiteers fear that under the backstop model being negotiated,
the UK will be trapped in a customs union with the EU for years
after Brexit without a guaranteed end date, unable to sign new
trade deals with countries around the world.
House of Commons leader and senior Conservative Andrea Leadsom,
warned on Sunday that MPs would not accept this sort of
arrangement, telling the BBC: “I don’t think something that
trapped the UK in any arrangement against our will would be
sellable to members of Parliament.”
This week new issues have emerged over the backstop. The EU is
adamant that by staying in a customs union after the Brexit, the
UK must also accept some single market rules to ensure there is a
“level playing field,” the FT reports.
Under this model, the UK would adhere to strict environmental
rules, like getting 32% of its energy from renewable sources. It
would also answer to the European Court of Justice on matters
relating to state subsidies to companies.
A senior EU source told BI last week that Brussels was not going
to budge on this issue and that “all of the activity is in
London” where May is trying to get government ministers on board
with the EU’s proposals. The pound was down almost one per cent
against the dollar on Monday morning amid concern over the state
of Brexit talks.
If there is a deal, the UK is set to continue following swathes
of EU rules for years after it has left the bloc, with little say
in shaping those rules. This is angering Conservative MPs on both
sides of the Brexit debate.
Pro-Remain MP Jo Johnson resigned as transport minister on
Friday over May’s handling of Brexit talks, accusing the
prime minister of leading Britain to a “boundless transitionary
He added that May was forcing Brexit two choices on the country —
her deal or no deal — and that “to present the nation with a
choice between two deeply unattractive outcomes, vassalage and
chaos, is a failure of British statecraft on a scale unseen since
the Suez crisis.”
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