No Brexit deal ‘catastrophic’: minister
Failure to reach a Brexit deal would be “catastrophic” for the UK, warned Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford, “with dire economic, security and social consequences”.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said she is preparing for “every eventuality”, including a “hard” Brexit with no deal.
Drakeford told the BBC that it was “a deeply dangerous fallacy” that no deal “is a viable outcome”.
“It is more important than ever for transition discussions between the UK and the EU 27 to commence as soon as possible. Business confidence is already suffering due to the uncertainty,” he said.
Alastair Campbell (pictured), former premier Tony Blair’s director of communications, wrote in the pro-European Union Guardian that May should concede that Brexit was an impossible task and withdraw the UK withdrawal bid. “She would get resignations, and vitriol by the bucket-load from the Brextremist media. She might lose her job. Equally, this might be the way to save it. In her Florence speech, May called for more creativity, as though it needed to come from others. This … is the kind of creativity she needs. It would be the making of her. And most of the country, I am sure, would breathe an enormous sigh of relief.”
May could face significant defeats over Brexit as Conservative rebels called to give MPs a binding vote on any final deal and to delay departure from the EU if a transition period is not agreed.
The government is urgently trying to stamp out rebellion after the scale of cross-bench cooperation over the EU Withdrawal Bill intensified.
The interest in both a final vote and transition period could hamper May’s ability to complete the Brexit process by the spring of 2019.
A proposal by former Conservative attorney general, Dominic Grieve, which would require an act of parliament to formally enact Brexit, is reportedly winning cross-party support.
An all-party parliamentary group on EU relations has apparently helped to ensure the election of soft-Brexit MPs to lead major select committees.
The group, co-chaired by Labour’s Chuka Umunna and Conservative Anna Soubry, claims to have several hundred MPs in support, with around a third of Parliament receiving its updates.
“The government behaves at times as if Parliament’s job is to behave like some lap dog and simply rubber-stamp major changes to our country’s constitution and relationship with the EU proposed by the executive. That is simply not going to happen on Brexit,” Umunna told the Guardian.
“Members from across the house are working across party lines in the national interest to ensure we do not jump off a cliff and withdraw from the EU in a job-destroying way.”
Alastair Campbell at an anti-Brexit protest in Manchester this month. Picture credit: Eurasia Times