Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

United Kingdom trade minister says 'no deal' Brexit more likely than not

Theresa May Theresa May held crunch Brexit meetings with Emmanuel Macron in France
Ginger Lawrence | 08 August, 2018, 18:28

With less than eight months until the United Kingdom quits the European Union, the government has yet to agree on a divorce deal with Brussels and has stepped up planning for the possibility of leaving the bloc without any formal agreement.

However Fox told The Sunday Times he was standing by the beleaguered prime minister, saying "no amount of shuffling around those at the top will change" the situation.

He indicated that Parliament should step in to prevent the United Kingdom crashing out without a deal.

Michel Barnier downplayed the importance of the United Kingdom government's torturously agreed White Paper on post-Brexit relations on Friday (July 20), insisting that it would not form the basis of Article 50 talks with London.

The EU had to decide whether to act in the economic best interests of its people, or go on pursuing an approach determined by an obsession with the purity of its rules The government has been touting its plans for Brexit agreed at Chequers to the EU and its leaders. It follows a warning last week by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt that "we potentially face the prospect of a no-deal by accident", and comes as the government steps up no-deal preparations.

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The prime minister has said she plans to publish some 70 technical notes in August and September outlining contingency plans for different sectors in the event Britain tumbles out of the bloc without a deal.

But Mr Barnier's spokesman said he was "working constructively, day and night, to reach a deal with the UK".

Britain and the European Union say they aim to hammer out an agreement on divorce terms and future trade by October so that it can be approved by all individual European Union countries before the United Kingdom leaves the bloc on March 29.

Mr Fox says the risk has increased, echoing the Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney on Friday, who said on Friday that the possibility of a no deal Brexit was "uncomfortably high."

May on Friday cut short her holiday in Italy for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.