UK to tackle 'scare stories' on no-deal Brexit

Written by Martin Banks on 23 August 2018 in News
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Keir Starmer, Labour’s Shadow Brexit secretary, has said that a no-deal Brexit would be a “complete failure” for UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

Photo credit: Michael Gill


He was commenting on Thursday just ahead of the publication of the UK government’s papers on a no-deal Brexit.

These will set out the scenarios for a no-deal, but Starmer said,  “If the publication of these documents is just a crude attempt by ministers to dress up the severe consequences of a no-deal Brexit as somehow acceptable, the whole exercise will be pointless.”

Later on Thursday, the UK government will begin advising people, businesses, and other groups about how to plan for the possibility of leaving the EU without a deal.

Ministers say publication of the first batch of 25 documents will tackle what they call “hair-raising scare stories” about a no-deal Brexit. These include reports in the UK press on Thursday that expat Brits stand to lose their pension rights in the event of a no-deal.

The government said reaching a deal with the EU is the “overriding priority” but “we must be ready to consider the alternative.”

The EU has already produced 68 notices on “Brexit preparedness.”

Commenting before the UK papers came out, Starmer said, “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.”

Elsewhere, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has suggested that the EU no longer views the October European Council summit as the deadline for agreement in Brexit negotiations, instead highlighting that this should be reached “certainly not later than the beginning of November.”

Speaking at a news briefing on Wednesday, he also noted that “negotiations are now entering the final stage,” adding, the UK and EU “will negotiate continuously from now on.”

On the future relationship, Barnier said the UK-EU partnership would have “no precedent”, but added that it must “respect the single market and the foundations of the European project.”

Speaking after the latest round of talks with Dominic Raab, his UK Brexit counterpart, Barnier also addressed the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

He said, “I do see a blame game starting against the EU in case of a no deal. The EU will not be impressed by a blame game and everyone should understand that.”

Elsewhere, the European Commissioner for financial services, Valdis Dombrovskis, has said the UK’s proposal to building on existing equivalence arrangements for UK-EU financial services trade was a “more realistic way forward” than previous proposals for mutual recognition.

He added, however, that the EU would not offer Britain any form of “super equivalence”, and the UK’s qualification for equivalence would be assessed “sector by sector and legislation by legislation.”

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine

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