No Deal Brexit Planning Halted In Wake Of Second Extension

12 April 2019, 09:34 | Updated: 12 April 2019, 09:36

Emergency planning by specialist government Brexit cells has been suspended
Emergency planning by specialist government Brexit cells has been suspended. Picture: PA

The Government is halting emergency planning for a no-deal Brexit following a second extension to the UK's departure date.

In a leaked email obtained by Sky News a Brexit official thanked civil servants for their work, and said: "in common with the rest of government, we have stood down our no-deal operational planning with immediate effect".

The email goes on to say: "at a meeting chaired by the cabinet secretary, we agreed that the objective is to ensure we wind down our no-deal planning in a careful, considered and orderly way."

The email says the suspension was taking place with “immediate effect”.

Brexit Minister James Cleverly last night insisted "ongoing", long-term no-deal preparation continues - but admitted "imminent no-deal Brexit planning" has now stopped.

The decision has upset MPs on both sides of the aisle following estimated spending of £4bn being put aside for no-deal planning. With £1.5bn spent in the last year.

ERG member Owen Paterson was not happy with the development.

It is understood that civil servants who were assigned specialist emergency planning duties will slowly return to their parent departments following the Easter break.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “As a responsible Government, we’ve been preparing for over two years to minimise any disruption in the event of no deal.

“In light of this week’s developments, departments will make sensible decisions about the timing and pace at which some of this work is progressing given that the date we leave the EU has changed, but we will absolutely continue to make all necessary preparations.”