A “managed no deal” Brexit said to be favoured by some cabinet ministers is unlikely to be agreed by the EU, Downing Street has suggested.
Cabinet Brexiteers such as Penny Mordaunt as well as former remainers like Gavin Williamson and Jeremy Hunt are reportedly set to push for the option to be considered as a ‘plan B’ if Theresa May’s withdrawal deal is rejected by MPs.
But the prime minister’s official spokesman insisted the sort of side deals required to make it a reality are unlikely to be agreed by the EU until after the UK has left.
According to reports, proposals circulating for a managed no deal Brexit could include a two year transition period followed by a hard exit with technology maintaining trade as freely as possible with the EU
But given a transition period is only on the table as part of the overall Brexit deal agreed by May with Brussels, a more likely option would appear to be striking side deals with EU countries in areas like aviation and pharmaceuticals to minimise chaos after exit day on March 29.
Asked whether such mini-deals would be possible, May’s spokesman told reporters on Monday: “I think what the EU have been clear on is that they aren’t holding those discussions with the UK until after it has left the EU.”
Insiders also pointed to the fact that Dominic Raab, the former Brexit secretary, was rebuked in September by EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier for writing to member states asking for side deals on transport in the event of no deal.
Nevertheless, ministers are said to be ready to push for the option at what is likely to be a heated cabinet meeting on Tuesday as thoughts turn to potential backup plans if May’s deal is rejected by the Commons.
Remainers such as Greg Clark and Amber Rudd, as well as…