Brexit: EU dismisses London’s talk of ‘managed no-deal’

Brussels to publish no-deal contingency plans as UK readies troops in case of disorder

Theresa May’s cabinet agreed to ramp up preparations in case MPs were to reject the withdrawal agreement next month. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Theresa May’s cabinet agreed to ramp up preparations in case MPs were to reject the withdrawal agreement next month. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images

 

The European Union will on Wednesday publish contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit, a day after Theresa May’s cabinet agreed to ramp up preparations in case MPs were to reject the withdrawal agreement next month.

Ministers agreed to implement no-deal plans “in full”, including reserving ferry space for supplies of food and medicine and keeping 3,500 armed troops in readiness to deal with any disruption.

The EU will make clear that it will not negotiate any “mini-deals” with the UK but will instead take unilateral action to protect European citizens and businesses from the economic impact of a no-deal Brexit. The Bank of England warned last month about the potentially catastrophic impact of Britain leaving without a deal, which could lead to long delays at ports and an abrupt plunge in the value of sterling.

The EU has already outlined minimal plans to allow flights to continue between the UK and EU in the immediate wake of Brexit, although British airlines will not be allowed to fly routes from one European airport to another unless they have a base within the EU. There will be measures to avoid disruption in the financial sector, including allowing some transactions to continue to be cleared in London.

But the EU wants to snuff out speculation in London about a “managed no-deal”, which some Brexiteers have suggested would see Britain paying the EU for a transition period and for sectoral deals to ease the impact of an abrupt Brexit. Ireland will on Thursday publish an updated no-deal plan, which will outline further details of measures at ports and airports and a call to business to escalate its preparations.

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