Boris Johnson By FCO (CC-BY-2.0)-small

Image by FCO (CC-BY-2.0)-small

Under the new PM, Boris Johnson, the government is seriously ramping up no deal Brexit preparations.


From daily meetings in the Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR) to a massive advertising campaign to planning for direct rule in Northern Ireland, the government is now working on the assumption that there will be a no deal exit from the EU on the 31st of October.

Boris Johnson has now set up Whitehall to deliver Brexit on time.

He has made Brexit the nation's number one priority and from Tuesday a small group of ministers will attend the new Daily Operations Committee in the Cabinet Office Briefing Room every day under the chairmanship of Michael Gove.

He has also put in place a network of top level committees to see the Brexit project successfully through.

And a Downing street source is quoted by ITV as saying that it was all being structured in a way that allows the Treasury to become "a motor for delivering Brexit, not the anchor".

There is also a plan for the biggest government advertising programme undertaken since the Second World War to inform everyone about a no deal Brexit. And this it has been suggested could cost in the region of £100 million.

All of this will be sending the message to Brussels that Boris is serious about Brexit and leaving the EU on October the 31st, whatever happens.

And to increase the pressure on Brussels to talk about a new deal, Boris Johnson has decided to play it cool and hold off jetting into to EU capitals to talk to EU leaders until nearer Brexit Day.

And with 94 days to go it will concentrate many peoples' minds.

Brexiteers will be mightily relieved that proper drive and action is now being brought to bear on Brexit.

But the Remainers are still out and about with their doom-laden pronouncements.

The CBI for example says that neither the UK nor the EU is ready for a no deal Brexit. But it has for the first time, I believe, published no deal advice to its members in the form of a report called "What Comes Next? The Business Analysis Of No Deal Preparations".

In response to this a government spokesperson said:

"This is a constructive contribution from the CBI, acknowledging the importance of all businesses preparing for no deal on the 31st of October.

"While we have done more to prepare than this report implies, since the new prime minister was appointed the government has stepped up the pace of planning for no deal. The chancellor has confirmed all necessary funding will be made available for vital no deal preparations. This includes funding for a major nationwide communications campaign to ensure that people and businesses are ready.

"Crucially, while there is more to do, the CBI observes that the UK is ahead of the EU in planning for no deal."

And the leader of the SNP is not happy, she says that this hard line approach is driving the country too disaster.

For a party leader that wants independence she does seem very dependant on the European Union, doesn't she? Maybe she sees UK membership of the EU as the only viable path to the SNP separating Scotland from Westminster, while transferring power direct to Brussels.

Now, it has in the past been argued that, if a general election was called while we approach the end of Article 50, then an extension must be sought from the EU so as not to tie the hands of a future government that might want to Remain in the EU.

This is based on a convention that seeks to keep the status quo during the election period. And Remainers insist that taking the UK out of a major treaty does change the status quo.

But this can be looked at in another way. The legal status quo is that we leave by default on the 31st of October. So it would be interfering with that, which would break the convention. And it's not like that legal position has been sprung on anyone, is it? And it's all been legislated for.

But no Remainer would ever agree with that one would they?

But the Attorney general, Geoffrey Cox QC, has suggested that Boris Johnson could legally take the UK out of the EU on a no deal basis, even if a General Election was taking place.

This of course will put a dampener on any Remainer thought of calling a vote of no confidence in the government, because it would lead to a general election either on Brexit Day itself or a week later. Not in time for a new government to stop Brexit.

And the issue for the Remainers here, is that once parliament is dissolved 25 working days before the election, they cease to be MPs and have zero parliamentary power. But government ministers like the PM remain fully empowered in their roles until a new government is formed, which would give Boris Johnson a free hand to do as he pleased.

And if the PM can just take the UK out of the EU on no deal with absolutely no opposition, then MPs may not be happy to risk going against the government in a no confidence vote – even if Jeremy Corbyn tabled a no confidence motion.

Looking good for Brexit thus far!


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