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A ‘managed no deal’ cannot constitute the policy of any responsible Government, says Brexit Committee

28 January 2019

Today, the Exiting the EU Committee publishes a full response to the Commons vote on 15 January 2019 to reject the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on the Future Framework for Relations between the EU and the UK.

The Government has tabled a motion in neutral terms which will be debated on 29 January 2019. MPs are putting forward alternative plans and this report aims to inform assessment of the available options.

Chair's comment

The Committee Chair, Hilary Benn MP, commented:

“Despite the resounding defeat of the Prime Minister’s Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration, the EU Withdrawal Act specifies that the UK’s ‘exit day’ will be 29 March at 11pm – deal or no deal.

“Having taken a wide range of evidence on the implications of a no deal Brexit, the committee is clear that this cannot be allowed to happen.

“It would disrupt supply chains, create costs and uncertainty for businesses, threaten the reintroduction of tariffs and new non-tariff barriers which would affect competitiveness and many small businesses are not ready because they don’t know what to plan for.  It would also raise questions in the minds of EU citizens here and British citizens living in other EU countries about their future rights and status and about how to maintain an open border on the island of Ireland. 

“The suggestion that the UK might opt for a no deal outcome but assume that the EU will continue to act in a co-operative manner to avoid disruption, cannot seriously constitute the policy of any responsible Government.

“MPs must be able to vote on extending Article 50 if Parliament cannot reach agreement on a way forward before 29 March.”

The Report also:

  • Looks at the options for potentially renegotiating the Government's current deal or looking at a future arrangement like Canada or Norway together with a customs union, together with the feasibility of extending Article 50 and/or holding a second referendum.   
  • Reiterates its call for a series of indicative votes to offer the House an opportunity to try and find an option supported by a majority.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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