World News

Business groups 'watching in horror' over risk of no-deal Brexit

Business groups 'watching in horror' over risk of no-deal Brexit

It would see us crashing out of the European Union with no terms of departure, over an economic cliff-edge with supply shortages and many businesses unable to trade, job losses, possible recession, no access to the European Union single market and a physical hard border being put in place in Ireland.

Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay warned that unless MPs back Mrs May's deal when it returns to the Commons in January the default option is for the United Kingdom to leave without any exit arrangement in place.

The move came a day after the British cabinet agreed to implement in full the UK's own preparations for a possible no-deal Brexit.

Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd said that ramping up the preparations did not mean a no-deal outcome, telling colleagues: "Just because you put a seatbelt on doesn't mean that you should crash the vehicle".

Mr Williamson replied: 'We've as yet not had any formal request from any Government department but what we are doing is putting contingency plans in place.

Businesses will be sent a 100-plus page online pack to help them get ready.

The plans cover 14 areas most likely to be affected, ranging from financial services to aviation, customs and carbon emissions trading.

The political and economic uncertainty over Brexit is having an impact, with data on Monday showing a drop in consumer spending, falling house prices and growing pessimism in household finances.

Labour MP Ian Murray, a supporter of the pro-EU Best for Britain campaign, said in a statement outside the Commons: "This is the reality of a no-deal Brexit: soldiers on the streets, medicines being stockpiled in the NHS, and airports and ferry terminals grinding to a halt".

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Some manufacturers have begun stockpiling parts and goods in anticipation of post-Brexit hiccups to trade.

Labour's Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, said the no-deal plans were part of scare tactics created to push lawmakers into backing May's deal.

Some hardline Conservative MPs have since said they could vote in favour of May's deal when it comes before parliament next month, although experts say the vote is still likely to go against the prime minister.

She tried to win changes from the European Union to sweeten the deal for reluctant lawmakers, but was rebuffed by the bloc at a summit in Brussels last week. May's authority has also been shaken after a no-confidence vote from her own party that saw more than a third of Conservative lawmakers vote against her.

MPs are not set to vote on the deal until January which means both sides are rapidly stepping up their contingency plans for a no-deal, an event both Brussels and London are still keen to avoid. But with Parliament divided on what should replace it - a harder Brexit, a softer Brexit or no Brexit at all - the whole process is at an impasse.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, on Monday submitted a motion of non-confidence in the prime minister, accusing May of deliberately wasting time by delaying the vote, forcing Parliament to choose between her deal and no deal. "I am asking him to do what he spectacularly failed to do yesterday and bring forward a motion of no confidence in the government".

But her intervention was welcomed as a "massive moment" by campaigners calling for a so-called People's Vote, with Tory former minister Anna Soubry praising Ms Rudd as "brave and principled".

But passions are running high, not because anyone at the top of the party thinks Labour would win a proper no-confidence vote and force a general election, but because of what would follow the end of the party's dream of an early general election.

The comment came as Home Secretary Sajid Javid launched the Government's plans for immigration policy after Brexit, which Ms Sturgeon said amounted to an "act of vandalism" on the Scottish economy.


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