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Sun, 24 January 2021

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Government now working on ‘assumption’ of no deal Brexit, claims Michael Gove

Government now working on ‘assumption’ of no deal Brexit, claims Michael Gove
2 min read

The Government is now operating “on the assumption” the UK is going to leave the EU without a deal, according to Michael Gove.

The Cabinet Office minister, who was put in charge of no deal planning by Boris Johnson this week, repeated the new Prime Minister’s mantra that the UK would exit on October 31 “no ifs no buts”.

Writing in the Sunday Times, he said the Cabinet had a “new clarity of mission”, as the Chancellor Sajid Javid prepares a spending blitz to prepare for such a scenario.

Mr Gove said: “The EU’s leaders have, so far, said they will not change their approach – it’s the unreformed withdrawal agreement, take it or leave it.

“We still hope they will change their minds, but we must operate on the assumption that they will not.”

And he said tweaks to Theresa May's withdrawal agreement would not be enough to stop no deal, saying: "You can't just reheat the dish that's been sent back and expect that will make it more palatable."

He added that planning for no deal was now a “number one priority” for the Government, as the paper reported he was one of a six-strong “war cabinet” convened to deliver Brexit on the Hallowe’en deadline “by any means necessary”.

As well as Mr Gove and Mr Javid, the foreign secretary Dominic Raab, Brexit secretary Steve Barclay and Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general, will join Mr Johnson to plot the country’s course out of the EU in the coming months.

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Javid pledged an overhaul of the Treasury’s approach to Brexit, and that “all necessary funding will be made available”.

The extra money is set to be used by Mr Gove to finance one of the country’s “biggest ever public information campaigns” to make sure the public and businesses are ready for no-deal.

Mr Javid wrote: “Under my leadership, the Treasury will have new priorities and will play its full role in helping to deliver Brexit.

“In my first day in office as chancellor, I tasked officials to urgently identify where more money needs to be invested to get Britain fully ready to leave on October 31 – deal or no deal.”

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