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by Kevin Schofield
18 December 2018
UK Cabinet to discuss ramping up plans for no-deal Brexit

UK Cabinet to discuss ramping up plans for no-deal Brexit

Theresa May cabinet meeting at Sage Gateshead - Image credit: PA

Theresa May's top team of senior ministers will today discuss what more needs to be done to prepare for the UK leaving the European Union without a deal.

Cabinet will assess the level of preparedness across government departments as the prospects rise of MPs failing to back the withdrawal agreement struck with Brussels by the Prime Minister.

One minister last night broke ranks to insist the whole of Whitehall must now follow his department's example and implement full no-deal preparations.

Speaking to the BBC's Newsnight programme, UK health secretary Matt Hancock said: "We’ve instituted full no deal planning within the NHS already, and I would like to see the whole of government going to that position because it’s the responsible thing to do."

The Prime Minister yesterday confirmed that the Commons vote on her Brexit deal will take place in the week beginning 14 January, barely 10 weeks before the UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March.

Brexit Secretary is expected to tell Cabinet that all non-essential government business is to be suspended so that civil servants can concentrate on no-deal planning.

According to The Times, Cabinet members will be asked to vote on three different options for how the country prepares for a no-deal exit.

One would see preparations stepped up and co-ordinated across Whitehall, another would see the current pace maintained and the third would see all planning scrapped in the assumption that May's deal will pass the Commons.

Chancellor Philip Hammond will also announce he is making available a further £2bn to pay for no-deal preparations.

Speaking yesterday, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: "What I have always said is the closer we get to March 29, the more decisions will have to be taken so that we are prepared for a no-deal scenario."

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