Umunna – Government must come clean about contingency planning for no deal Brexit

The Defence Secretary has said the Government is not doing any planning for a no deal Brexit – despite the fact that David Davis’ department has formerly promised that it is undertaking such planning.

On the Today Programme this morning, Michael Fallon said “we’re not planning for no deal.” This is despite the fact that last month, Brexit Minister Steve Baker said that “in relation to the ‘no deal’ scenario, any responsible government would prepare for a range of possible outcomes from the negotiation, and this is what we are doing.”

Labour MP Chuka Umunna, a leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign group, has today written to Mr Baker to ask him whether the Defence Secretary’s comments are Government policy, and if Ministers really are planning for what would happen if Britain left the EU with no deal. 

It follows previous confusion from Ministers on the question of whether or not the Government is preparing contingency planning for a Brexit with no deal – which remains Government policy after the Prime Minister said that “no deal is better than a bad deal.”

David Davis has said the UK is undertaking such planning, while Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that “there is no plan for no deal because we’re going to get a great deal.”

In the letter, Chuka Umunna MP, leading supporter of Open Britain, said: 

“British businesses, industry groups, trade unions and the British people know the truth: ‘no-deal’ would be a disaster for our economy, our businesses, our jobs and our country.

“The Government must now come clean and provide full details of any impact assessments and any contingency planning it has conducted for a no deal scenario.

“This shambles of ministers constantly contradicting each other is sowing further confusion for all who will be impacted by Brexit, and it must be brought to an end.”

/ends 

Notes to editors:

This story is reported in the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/michael-fallon-says-there-is-no-plan-for-a-no-deal-brexit-but-brexit-department-says-there-is_uk_59b7be69e4b031cc65cc8ca4?tli

The full letter from Chuka Umunna MP to Steve Baker MP is below:

Dear Steve,

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister on 11th July 2017, I raised the serious question of whether the Government has conducted any detailed contingency planning for a ‘no-deal’ outcome from the Brexit negotiations. This was in response to numerous contradictory statements made by Cabinet ministers on this issue, including David Davis stating that detailed planning for a ‘no-deal’ outcome has been conducted, but that no economic impact assessment has been carried out, and Boris Johnson claiming in Parliament there was “no plan for no deal”. I thank you for your reply to this letter, which I gratefully received on 19th July 2017.

In your reply, you assured me that the Government is, in fact, conducting detailed planning for all outcomes, including ‘no-deal’. However, during an interview this morning (12th September 2017), Michael Fallon let slip once again the confusion and contradictions at the core of this Government’s Brexit policy by stating “we’re not planning for no deal”.    

The British people deserve a clear yes-or-no answer to a straightforward question. Has the Government conducted plans for a ‘no-deal’ scenario, which would be the worst outcome of all, or not? The Government must now give honest answers to the following questions:

  • Has the Government conducted detailed contingency planning on the possibility of a ‘no-deal’ scenario, or not?
  • If the answer is yes, the Government must now commit to publishing these contingency plans in full, so they can be properly scrutinized by both Parliament and the British people. If the answer is no, what possible explanation does the Government have for such a shocking lack of future planning?
  • Since the Government says it rejects the Treasury’s analysis from May 2016, has the Government carried out a new assessment of the economic impact of leaving the EU with no deal? If not, on what basis is it able to do contingency planning?
  • Why are Government ministers constantly contradicting each other on the existence or non-existence of any detailed planning for a ‘no-deal’ outcome?

British businesses, industry groups, trade unions and the British people know the truth: ‘no-deal’ would be a disaster for our economy, our businesses, our jobs and our country. The Government must now come clean and provide full details of any impact assessments and any contingency planning it has conducted for a no deal scenario. This shambles of ministers constantly contradicting each other is sowing further confusion for all who will be impacted by Brexit, and it must be brought to an end. 

I await your response with interest. 

Yours sincerely,

Chuka Umunna MP

Michael Fallon’s remarks on the Today programme:

Q: So what happens if there is no deal? Will we not be collaborating on security?

Fallon: Well we’re working for a deal, we’re not planning for no deal, we’re working flat out for a deal.

Background:

Boris Johnson and David Davis have previously contradicted each other on whether the Government is planning for Brexit with no deal:http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/boris-johnson-says-there-is-no-plan-for-brexit-without-a-deal-but-david-davis-said-there-was_uk_5964c809e4b005b0fdc83d3d

Johnson was later slapped down by Brexit Minister Steve Baker, who confirmed that the Government was undertaking planning for no deal:http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/boris-johnson-wrong-to-claim-no-plan-for-no-brexit-deal-says-brexit-department_uk_5981e2d0e4b0353fbb33f5b3?ozj

Open Britain has today released a video highlighting the Government’s inconsistencies on no deal: https://twitter.com/Open_Britain/status/907574672274935809