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Ministers 'fear crashing out of the EU' if Brexit deal not secured by October

2 min read

Ministers privately fear that the UK could crash out of the EU empty handed if a Brexit deal is not secured by October, according to reports.

The Sun and The Telegraph report that a crisis meeting was held this week between Brexit ministers and Commons leader Andrea Leadsom amid concerns parliament will not be able to ratify the withdrawal agreement before Article 50 comes to an end in March.

Should a deal be struck with the EU, the Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill would need to be brought into force to underpin the new arrangement.

But Ms Leadsom has reportedly warned ministers about the timetable constraints prohibiting the legislation passing through parliament unless a Brexit deal is struck by October.

A source told both papers the meeting “was real doomsday stuff, that left Brexit ministers in no doubt that time is really running out.”

A Commons source said: "The understanding is that if we leave without the Withdrawal and Implementation Bill we leave without a deal. 

"We'd end up in legal limbo because this bill delivers the agreement. Without it we have no idea what would happen next, nor what the EU would do."

Sources told the Telegraph that if ministers are forced to rush the new legislation through the Commons, MPs could be made to sit through the night, over recess and debate could be cut from eight days to one.

According to The Sun, Ms Leadsom told ministers it would be unlikely that the Government could use special Expedited Legislation measures to fasttrack the bill through parliament, given the Tories’ slender majority as a result of the confidence and supply arrangement with the DUP.

A Government spokesman said: "We are constantly assessing the parliamentary timetable to ensure all the required bills are passed before our exit from the EU.

"While we share with the EU the intention to agree a deal by October, we are ready for all scenarios."

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