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Dominic Raab warns ‘intransigent’ EU could result in no Brexit deal

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The UK could experience a “no deal” departure from the EU if the bloc takes a “deliberately intransigent approach” to Brexit negotiations, MPs have been told.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab made the warning to the House of Commons on Thursday, amid reports the government is ready to introduce parliamentary preparations for a no deal divorce in less than three weeks’ time.

Legislation to prepare the UK for a no deal Brexit will be will be launched in the second week of November, including at least four new bills, according to The Times.

“We’re about to introduce no deal legislation very, very soon,” a senior government figure told the newspaper.

They added: “Obviously we don’t want to upset the negotiations but the clock is ticking and it will get harder and harder the later we leave it.”

Taking questions from MPs on Thursday, Mr Raab admitted there is a “risk of no deal, especially if the EU engage in a deliberately intransigent approach”.

However, he reiterated government preparations to deal with such a scenario, including the recruitment of 300 extra customs staff and plans for a further 600 appointments.

“We have given a range of advice through our 106 technical notices, half of which gave advice on customs procedures for businesses,” Mr Raab added.

“There have been 300,000 letters sent to current customs users and letters to 145,000 VAT-registered businesses.”

The Brexit secretary also outlined £8m of funding for customs intermediaries, but spoke of a “worst-case scenario” where French authorities in the port of Calais are “deliberately directing a go-slow approach by supporting a diversion of the flow to more amenable ports in other countries”.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab
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Dominic Raab warned MPs of a ‘go-slow’ at Calais after Brexit

Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer tackled Mr Raab on why no deal legislation had not been introduced “months ago”.

He said: “The analysis by the Institute for Government shows that, taken together, his own technical notices commit the government before next March to the creation or expansion of 15 quangos, further legislation in 51 areas, the negotiation of 40 new international agreements – either with the EU or other countries – and the introduction of 55 new systems and processes.

“That’s a huge legislative task for any government, let alone this troubled government.”

Sir Keir added: “The truth is it’s already too late to plan for no deal, this is bluff not planning.”

In response, Mr Raab told MPs the government is “rightly” making “concerted plans and preparations” so that the UK would be ready for the “short-term risk” of a no deal Brexit.

He criticised Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s claim that his party would not “waste resources” by putting aside cash for the possibility of a no deal Brexit.








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PM: ‘I don’t want to extend implementation period’

Mr Raab said: “That is deeply irresponsible and would leave us at the hostage of the negotiations and leave the UK overexposed in the unlikely and regrettable outcome that we don’t get a deal with our EU partners.”

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