- Theresa May’s government tells Brexit staff to halt no deal planning.
- “We have stood down our no-deal operational planning with immediate effect.”
- This comes after May agreed to delay Brexit by six months to October 31.
- Her government has spent around £4 billion to prepare for a possible no deal exit.
- Pro-Brexit Conservative MPs are furious with the decision amid growing calls for May to quit.
LONDON – The UK government has told civil servants to wind down no deal Brexit planning after spending around £4 billion pounds on preparing the country for crashing out of the European Union.
The Brexit department’s permanent secretary has told staff that “in common with the rest of government, we have stood down our no-deal operational planning with immediate effect,” in a letter obtained by Sky News.
The letter adds that imminent no-deal planning will be closed down in a “careful, considered and orderly way” across government departments after European leaders agreed to delay Brexit by six months until October 31.
Prime Minister Theresa May spent months claiming “no deal is better than a bad deal” and that the United Kingdom would be ready to leave the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement if necessary.
Her government has spent around £4 billion preparing for such an outcome, and moved thousands of civil servants from their normal jobs to the Brexit department to help with a plethora of no deal readiness projects.
However, Members of Parliament have repeatedly voted against leaving the EU without a deal, amid concerns about what it would mean for British businesses, people, and the integrity of the UK.
The decision to wind-down no deal preparations has infuriated pro-Brexit Conservative MPs.
Brexit minister James Cleverly quickly tried to play down reports of no deal planning being shut down.
He tweeted: “World of difference between ongoing no-deal preparation (which continues) and imminent no-deal Brexit planning (which stops because of the extension).”
May’s decision to delay Brexit until Halloween and wind down no deal planning has only fueled anger among pro-Leave Conservative MPs. Bill Cash MP yesterday called on the prime minister to resign while The Sun reports that the Conservative party’s 1922 committee has scheduled a meeting later this month to discuss her future.
Leadership hopeful Boris Johnson this week had private talks with the Democratic Unionist Party amid intense speculation that he will run to succeed May once the prime minister eventually steps down, the Times said.
A Cabinet source told Business Insider this week that the former foreign secretary’s campaign to be the next Tory leader and prime minister is “very far advanced” compared to his potential rivals.