Brexit: UK to issue first batch of no-deal advice on Thursday

Brexit minister Dominic Raab will stress that UK believes prospect of no deal unlikely

UK Brexit minister Dominic Raab: “I remain confident a good deal is within our sights.” Photograph: François Lenoir/File Photo/Reuters

UK Brexit minister Dominic Raab: “I remain confident a good deal is within our sights.” Photograph: François Lenoir/File Photo/Reuters

 

The British government will on Thursday publish the first batch of technical notices advising citizens and businesses on how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. About 20 notices out of a total of more than 80, covering everything from veterinary medicine to banking and the Common Travel Area, are expected to be published, although the government declined to specify which areas would be covered in the first batch.

In a speech to coincide with the publication, Brexit secretary Dominic Raab is expected to stress that Britain believes that the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal is unlikely.

“I remain confident a good deal is within our sights, and that remains our top, and over-riding, priority ... But, we must be ready to consider the alternative. We have a duty, as a responsible government, to plan for every eventuality,” he is expected to say.

“These technical notices – and the ones that will follow – are a sensible, measured and proportionate approach to minimising the impact of no deal on British firms, citizens, charities and public bodies.”

Conservative Brexiteers who have long complained about the government’s failure to prepare adequately for a no-deal Brexit now fear that publishing information about its impact could weaken their argument that no deal with Brussels is better than a bad deal.

EU rules

Mr Raab will stress that the notices are designed to provide information and guidance to make a no-deal Brexit as smooth as possible. But some of the plans would involve Britain continuing to follow EU rules after Brexit.

“In some cases, it means taking unilateral action to maintain as much continuity as possible in the short term, in the event of no deal – irrespective of whether the EU reciprocates. Of course, while we may take that approach in the short term, we will be outside the EU, and free to diverge when we are ready, on our terms, in the UK national interest and when it’s right for the British people,” Mr Raab is expected to say.

“And many of the no-deal challenges will affect the EU in similar ways. For our part, if the negotiations fail, we will continue to behave as responsible European neighbours, partners and allies. That should extend to necessary engagement with our EU partners when it comes to no-deal planning.”

Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, said that if the publication of the documents was an attempt to dress up the severe consequences of a no-deal Brexit as somehow acceptable, the exercise would be pointless.

“A no-deal Brexit would be a complete failure by the government to negotiate for Britain. These documents should not distract us from that. No deal would be catastrophic for people’s jobs, the economy and for the Border in Northern Ireland. It is irresponsible for anyone to casualise no deal,” he said.