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Theresa May insists a no-deal Brexit won’t be ‘the end of the world’

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Theresa MayGetty

  • On an overseas visit, Theresa May slapped down Philip
    Hammond’s recent Brexit intervention, calling his statistics
    into doubt.
  • May also said that a no deal Brexit would not “be the
    end of the world.”
  • May also sought to play down recent questions by
    Cabinet Office Minister David Lidlington, who said that talks
    could be extended.
  • May pushed back against this, saying “we are all
    working towards an October deadline”.

LONDON – Theresa May has distanced herself from
warnings by her cabinet colleagues of the dangers of a no-deal
Brexit by insisting that leaving the EU without a deal “wouldn’t
be the end of the world.”

The Chancellor Philip Hammond warned on Thursday that the
Treasury could be forced to borrow £80bn extra over 15 years as a
result of Britain leaving without a deal.

However, May distanced herself from Hammond echoing recent
comments by the Director General of the World Trade Organisation
Roberto Azevêdo’s, who said that a  fard Brexit “is not
going to be the end of the world in the sense that trade is going
to stop and that everything is going to fall down.
No… 

But it’s not going to be a walk in the
park either.”


Roberto Azevêdo
WTO Director General
Roberto Azevêdo

Denis
Balibouse/Reuters


Crunching the Numbers

Mentioning Azevêdo’s comments, May told reporters during a
visit to South Africa: “Look at what the director general of the
World Trade Organisation has said. He has said about the no-deal
situation that it will not be a walk in the park, but it wouldn’t
be the end of the world.”

“What the government is doing is putting in place the
preparation such that if we are in that situation, we can make a
success of it, just as we can make a success of a good
deal.”

May cast doubt on the figures Hammond had used to warn
against a hard Brexit, which May suggested were months out of
date, having been calculated in January. “They were a work in
progress at that particular time,” she said.


Theresa MayWPA
Pool/Getty

Red line for October

May also slapped down Cabinet Office Minister David
Lidington, who suggested last week that negotiations could be
extended to after the October deadline.

Michel
Barnier, the EU’s Chief Negotiator, had previously said the talks
could be extended to November.

In response to Lidlington’s comments, May said: “we are all
working to the October deadline…from our point of view there is
some legislation we have to get through parliament [in order to
be able to leave the EU by March 2019]”.

The Prime Minister is currently visiting Africa for the
first time in her premiership, and was speaking in Cape Town on
Tuesday morning.

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