Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak confirmed that if the Conservatives are returned to government, contingency plans for a clean-break, no-deal Brexit will resume.
Mr Sunak told The Telegraph that even though Boris Johnson had secured a new exit treaty with the European Union, the planning will recommence because “there are all sorts of scenarios that might happen”.
Prime Minister Johnson stood down Whitehall on no-deal planning — codenamed Operation Yellowhammer — on October 28th after he had secured the new EU-approved deal on October 17th. However, as British lawmakers had not passed the agreement by October 19th, the prime minister was forced to ask an extension of Article 50 to January 31st, 2020, which Brussels granted.
On October 29th, the House of Commons finally approved the prime minister’s request for a December 12th election through which Mr Johnson hopes to break the deadlock by clearing out the lower house of Remainers trying to thwart Brexit.
“We hope we come back with a majority, in that case we will want to get this deal through, so in theory no deal should not be something that needs to happen. But there are all sorts of scenarios that might happen,” Mr Sunak said.
Corbyn’s ‘Neutral’ Stance on Brexit ‘Won’t Wash with Voters’: Senior Tory https://t.co/uSm1QsE2ZU
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 23, 2019
This statement comes despite reports from early November that the Conservative Party’s manifesto is set to drop the ‘threat’ of a no-deal Brexit, in what was believed to be a move to attract centrist and soft-Brexit supporters. The Tories are expected to reveal their election pledges on Sunday.
The Telegraph reports that the manifesto is likely to include an increase in public spending of £13.8 billion by 2021, cuts to certain business taxes, and a raise the National Living Wage from £8.21 to £10.50 within five years. The manifesto is also likely to pledge spending boosts for the NHS and schools. In terms of law and order, Prime Minister Johnson’s government has already begun recruiting 20,000 new police officers and has promised harsher prison sentences.
With just 20 days to go until voting day, a poll of polls conducted by PA media puts the Conservatives 14 points ahead of Labour at 43 per cent.