Johnson Sets up Brexit ‘War Cabinet’, No Deal Preparation ‘Number One Priority’

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he gives a speech on domestic priorities at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, northwest England on July 27, 2019. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday said Brexit was a "massive economic opportunity" but had been treated under his predecessor …
RUI VIEIRA/AFP/Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set up a “War Cabinet” focused on delivering Brexit by October 31st, with the government working on the “assumption” that the UK will leave the EU in a clean break, without a deal.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Johnson ordered his ministers to get to work on Brexit planning, organising the Exit Strategy Committee — reportedly dubbed by some as the “War Cabinet”. It will be comprised of Johnson, Michael Gove, who as the Chancellor to the Duchy of Lancaster is charged with overseeing Brexit preparations, Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid, and Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay.

Mr Gove will also co-chair with Chief Secretary of the Treasury Rishi Sunak the Daily Operations Committee in the Cobra room of the Cabinet Office, a room where responses to national crises and emergencies are normally discussed.

The holder of the government purse, Mr Javid is also set to outline this week a strategy for issuing an extra £1 billion for Brexit planning, according to The Telegraph.

“We are turbo charging preparations for no deal and that is now the Government’s number one priority,” Mr Sunak said.

Since his appointment to the Treasury last week, Mr Sunak has presented the government’s now hard line approach to the EU, confirming that the UK will not be paying the £39 billion divorce bill if there is no deal.

The Treasury’s plan will also include spending on a public information campaign intended to dismantle Project Fear over a no-deal Brexit, with a source telling The Sun that Johnson “believes there is nothing to fear from leaving without a deal”.

The Theresa May government had come under criticism for halting no-deal preparations in April. One source told The Telegraph that the “the daily meetings show that we are serious about no deal”, while Mr Gove wrote in The Sunday Times that the government “must operate on the assumption” that the EU will not renegotiate the withdrawal treaty.

After Mr Johnson won the Conservative leadership race and became prime minister, Brussels bureaucrats had reiterated their position that the UK-EU deal will remain unchanged. In return, Mr Johnson is reported to be giving the EU the cold shoulder by refusing to visit Eurocrats or European Union member-state leaders, prioritising instead overseeing Brexit preparations.

While Mr Johnson is playing hardball with the Europeans, he is setting his sights outwards to the rest of the world. The prime minister will be chairing a third new committee, the Exit Economy and Trade Committee, which will reportedly focus on “Britain’s future relationships around the world”.

Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss is set to meet with the American ambassador to the UK Woody Johnson this week, and will be meeting with her U.S. counterparts Wilbur Ross and Robert Lighthizer in Washington, DC, about a trade deal later next month.

Ms Truss wrote in The Telegraph: “My main priority now will be agreeing a free-trade deal with the US, building on the successful phone call between the Prime Minister and President Trump. I will be getting on a plane to the US in the next few weeks to move this forward,” adding that the UK will also be looking at free trade agreements with the Commonwealth nations which includes India, Canada, and countries in Africa and the Antipodes.

Breitbart London reported on Saturday that President Donald Trump confirmed that talks were underway for a trade deal that could increase UK-U.S. commerce by up to five times more than its current rate.

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