'No deal' Brexit would mean costly border disruption - United Kingdom spending watchdog

29 October, 2018, 10:41 | Author: Carlos George
  • Theresa May

May was addressing a meeting of her party's "1922 Committee" of backbench lawmakers.

The latest display of backbench unrest came amid reports that the number of Conservative MPs submitting letters calling for her removal was approaching the 48 needed to trigger a no confidence vote in her leadership.

Rather than the lion's den that some had predicted, "it was a petting zoo", Fabricant said.

Supporters of the idea say a longer transition period would allow more scope for securing a trade deal and to avoid a hard border in Ireland - which remains the biggest obstacle for European Union leaders to sort out. "However, no unionist can sign up to a deal which cuts Northern Ireland off from the rest of the U.K".

Politician Meg Hillier said in a statement issued by UK Parliament: "With continued uncertainty around the negotiations, it is particularly concerning how little information government has provided to businesses so they can prepare for any outcome".

The audit found that 11 out of 12 government projects replacing or upgrading existing border systems to prepare for more rigorous customs checks were - as of September - at risk of not being delivered on time to "acceptable quality".

It added: "Border management is fundamentally important to national security, effective trade, tourism, well-managed migration, healthy communities and the environment".

Director General Alexandre de Juniac said failure to put measures in place "could mean chaos for travellers and interrupted supply chains".

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The EU also volunteered to extend the post-Brexit status quo transition period by a year until the end of 2021.

"We remain confident of reaching an agreement with the European Union, but it is only sensible for government and industry to prepare for a range of scenarios", the Department for Transport said in a statement.

Mr Raab warned MPs on all sides against seeking to "wreck" any deal secured by Prime Minister Theresa May during a punchy Brexit questions session, which also saw Labour label the no-deal preparations as "bluff" and the government accused of "Mussolini politics" by Labour backbencher Barry Sheerman.

Brexit talks have stalled over a disagreement on the so-called Northern Irish backstop, an insurance policy to ensure there will be no return to a hard border on the island of Ireland if a future trading relationship is not agreed in time.

"It's crystal clear the European Union will not accept any deal that does not include the backstop for Northern Ireland". But so far, each side has rejected the other's solution.

The Tory leader set out four steps the UK and Brussels need to take to get a deal, including negotiating a temporary UK-EU customs agreement if the future trade deal is not ready to go when the transition period ends in December 2020.

Addressing MPs, May said: "The Brexit talks are not about my interests".

"What is undoubted and certainly the case is the prospects for an agreement are very adversely effected by the political situation we now see in the UK", Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said this week in Dublin.

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