UK ramps up preparations for possibility of ‘no-deal’ Brexit
LONDON The British government is ramping up preparations to leave the European Union on Oct 31 without an agreement, senior ministers said yesterday.
Mr Boris Johnson, who took over as British Prime Minister on Wednesday, has said he plans to seek a new exit deal with the EU. The EU has said repeatedly that the deal cannot be reopened.
Leading Brexit supporter Michael Gove, who Mr Johnson has put in charge of "no deal" preparations, wrote in The Sunday Times newspaper that the government would undertake "intensive efforts" to secure a better deal.
"We still hope they will change their minds, but we must operate on the assumption that they will not... No deal is now a very real prospect and we must make sure that we are ready," Mr Gove wrote.
"Planning for no deal is now this government's No. 1 priority," he said, adding "every penny needed" for no deal preparations would be made available.
The Sunday Times also reported that Mr Dominic Cummings, the mastermind behind the 2016 referendum campaign to leave the EU and now a senior aide to Mr Johnson, told a meeting of the Prime Minister's advisers that he had been tasked with delivering Brexit "by any means necessary".
Ministers are preparing for a no-deal emergency budget in the week of Oct 7, the newspaper added.
Lawmakers from opposition parties and the governing Conservative Party have threatened to block Mr Johnson from taking Britain out of the EU without a divorce deal.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party would do everything it could to prevent the country from leaving the EU without a deal. - REUTERS