No-deal brexit

Sunday shows round-up: A no deal would be ‘potentially devastating’ for Northern Ireland, Blair says

Tony Blair – No deal ‘potentially devastating’ for Northern Ireland Sophy Ridge began the morning with a wide-ranging interview with Tony Blair. The conservation inevitably turned to Brexit, something to which the former Prime Minister has long been opposed. Blair strongly criticised those politicians calling for a ‘no deal’ outcome after March 29th, arguing that they had ‘played fast and loose’ with the Northern Irish peace process from day one: Politicians are "playing fast and loose" with the peace process in Northern Ireland. Former prime minister Tony Blair tells #Ridge a no-deal #Brexit would be devastating for NI. He says no one could "responsibly" propose a no-deal Brexit:

Will the public mood on no deal sway the Commons?

As Theresa May attempts to reopen negotiations on the terms of the backstop, there is a view in Downing Street that May won’t be able to win any substantial changes until Yvette Cooper’s no deal amendment has been defeated for a second time. The Prime Minister will put down a neutral motion next Wednesday and amendments to that motion are expected to be voted on the following day. The expectation is that Cooper will bring back her amendment which would force the government to try and extend Article 50 if a no deal scenario looked likely. There’s a concern in government that this time the amendment could pass. A number

MPs get cold feet about the Cooper no deal amendment

Is a no-deal Brexit about to be taken off the table? This is the expectation in Westminster after Yvette Cooper tabled an amendment to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal. The amendment paves the way for legislation that would mean ministers had to extend Article 50 if a no-deal Brexit looked likely. The Labour leadership are considering backing it – though there is some debate about whether Article 50 ought to be extended in three month batches rather than than the nine month period currently specified in Cooper’s bill. Brexiteers are so worried the amendment will pass that some – including Jacob Rees-Mogg – have gone so

The Spectator Podcast: time to make your own mind up about a no-deal Brexit

Lorries backing up in Kent, a Mars bar shortage, and no more Rome city breaks – these are just some of the things that we have been warned about when it comes to a no deal Brexit. But what will really happen? In this week’s cover piece, Ross Clark weighs up the pros and the cons. It’s fairly neutral, but on the podcast, we hear from two people who are anything but. Lord Peter Lilley, Tory MP, has said that a no-deal Brexit would be better than the status quo; he’s joined by Ian Dunt, editor of, who thinks that it would be an ‘unmitigated disaster’. It was a

Project Fact

Food shortages, diabetics going without insulin, outbreaks of salmonella and swine flu: a no-deal Brexit has become a dystopia of the imagination that gives even the Old Testament a run for its money. To lend it extra credence, the doomsayers are not muttering men with long white beards but business leaders and figures from respectable-sounding thinktanks. Yet in just 11 weeks’ time, a no-deal Brexit could become a reality. Will we really be impoverished, hungry and living in fear of infectious diseases? Or is it just Project Fear, ratcheted up to a new level by those who see the clock ticking down and have become ever more desperate to persuade

Even ministers don’t understand Brexit

The Brexit negotiations are becoming so complicated that even the cabinet admits that it doesn’t understand what is going on. The Prime Minister has been told by several of her colleagues that they won’t back any deal she agrees until they have seen written legal advice, setting out what it means. If a Brexit deal is going to be impenetrable even to secretaries of state who have followed every step of the negotiations, what hope does the public have? This extraordinary state of affairs was summed up by the cabinet meeting this week during which ministers discussed where the negotiations stand. Theresa May would agree on the money to pay

The spectre of no deal is receding – probably

Over the summer, a no-deal Brexit became less likely. Eurosceptic ultras have been forced to be less blasé. The return of Steve Baker to the European Research Group, the lead Brexiteer bloc of MPs, has injected more realism into their discussions on the subject. Baker was involved with no-deal planning in government and has made clear to colleagues that it would present significant challenges. Those intimately involved in the negotiations on the British side say that the EU is also more concerned about the talks failing. As deadlines approach, the focus is on the sheer logistical complexities that would come with Britain crashing out of the European Union. Senior figures

The government’s no-deal Brexit plans aren’t scary enough to satisfy Remainers

The government was always onto a loser whether or not it published the 24 technical notices laying out what would happen in the event of a no-deal Brexit. If it didn’t publish them it would be accused of a cover up. If it did and they were terrifying it would provide ammunition for the Remain brigade. And if it published them and they weren’t terribly frightening? Then Remainers would accuse ministers of having their heads in the sand. The latter scenario is pretty much where we are today. There are few stand-out headlines from the 24 documents for anti-Brexit commentators to get their teeth into. The Financial Times website has

Project Fear latest: Brexit means… super-gonorrhoea

Oh dear. With Tory MPs and Opposition MPs alike united in their dislike of Theresa May’s Chequers proposals, talk of a no deal Brexit is rife. Only this time around no-one seems able to agree on where Project Fear stops and Kamikaze begins. In today’s Telegraph, a Brexiteer MP accuses May of being the most Kamikaze of all thanks to her new penchant for releasing no deal preparation notices. Far from being the stuff the UK should show to Brussels to prove they are ready, they say, talk of plans to stockpile food and bring in the army to deliver it are aimed at scaring Brits into accepting her compromise.

Since Article 50 was triggered, a no-deal Brexit has been the default

Jeremy Hunt has told Tory rebels that”if we don’t back Theresa May we will have no Brexit”. It echoes a point Paul Mason once made – a point that you hear quite often: there’s no chance of no deal on Brexit, because there is no parliamentary majority for no deal. It’s understandable, given recently chaos, to imagine that if things are falling apart then Brexit might be one of them. Lord Kerr, who helped draft the Article 50 withdrawal clause, said last week that “the Brexiters create the impression that… having sent in a letter on 29 March 2017 we must leave automatically on 29 March 2019 at the latest. That is