Johnson Tells Civil Servants to Make Preparing for No-Deal Brexit ‘Top Priority’

ABINGDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits the Fusion Energy Research Centre at the Culham Science Centre on August 8, 2019 in Abingdon, England. (Photo by Julian Simmonds - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Julian Simmonds - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has written to civil servants telling them to make preparations for a no-deal Brexit “top priority”.

Mr Johnson wrote a letter, published in The Telegraph, to the country’s some-400,000 career bureaucrats telling them:”My approach to Brexit is simple, and I want you to be in no doubt about it.”

“I would very much prefer to leave with a deal – one that must abolish the anti-democratic Irish backstop, which has unacceptable consequences for our country.

“But I recognise this may not happen. That is why preparing urgently and rapidly for the possibility of an exit without a deal will be my top priority, and it will be the top priority for the Civil Service too,” Prime Minister Johnson said.

The move is a departure from that of his predecessor Theresa May, who upon postponing Brexit from the March 29th scheduled date after failing three times to pass her EU-approved Brexit treaty instructed her team to wind down no-deal planning in April 2019.

As well as telling the Civil Service to ramp up no-deal planning, Downing Street has cancelled all leave for government advisors to maximise exit preparation time before the House returns after recess in September.

The Times reported on Saturday that Michael Gove, charged with overseeing no-deal preparations, confirmed that ministers are working on a bailout fund to support businesses temporarily affected by a clean Brexit. The prime minister is expected to discuss the bailout plans, named “Operation Kingfisher”, with his Cabinet next week.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid, who has doubled the amount of money going into no-deal planning, downplayed suggestions this week that the UK could enter a recession, after the British economy contracted by 0.2 per cent in the three months to June.

He told Channel 4 news that there was “nothing to be frightened of” with a no-deal Brexit, adding: “We will be ready for it, we will get through it, we will come out stronger and even more resilient.

“I’m not expecting a recession, there is not a single leading forecaster out there that is expecting a recession, the independent Bank of England is not expecting a recession. And you know why they’re not? It’s because the fundamentals are strong, that’s the first thing.

“Our economy since 2010, because of the hard work of the British people, has grown by 19 per cent and we have more people employed than ever before.”

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