FM's warning about no Brexit deal

23 August 2018, 17:40 | Updated: 23 August 2018, 17:43


Wales' first minister has warned "the writing is on the wall" over the prospect of a 'no deal' outcome in Brexit talks.

It's as the Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed 25 technical papers are being published today on UK Government preparations.

Carwyn Jones said the documents have shown up the UK's no-deal plans as a bluff that was "fooling no-one".

"No-deal would be a catastrophic failure of the UK Government that would cause huge disruption and serious, long-lasting economic and social damage to all parts of the UK.

"No-deal is not an option and the UK Government's bluff is fooling no-one", Mr Jones said.

“It is hugely frustrating, because if the UK Government had adopted the blueprint to negotiations we set out over 18 months ago, they could have made substantial progress on the future partnership with the EU.

"They also could have avoided the situation we face today where our biggest employers are considering leaving the UK with the loss of thousands of jobs causing disruption to our economy, our universities are at risk of losing out on vital research and our hospitals are warning of staff shortages putting patients at risk.

“‘No deal’ is not an option and the UK Government’s bluff is fooling no-one. It is time the Prime Minister dropped the poker face and worked constructively with the EU-27 to secure a Brexit deal that protects our citizens, services and economy", the first minister stated.

Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales said: "We do not want or expect a no deal scenario. As a result of the significant progress made in negotiations, we remain confident we will agree a mutually advantageous deal with the EU.

"However, it is the duty of a responsible government to prepare for all eventualities and i call on businesses and the people of Wales to look at the Technical Notices that have been published today for guidance on the steps they would need to take to be in the best possible and most prepared position in the event of a no deal scenario."

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said Mr Raab's speech was "thin on detail, thin on substance and provided no answers to how ministers intend to mitigate the serious consequences of leaving the EU without an agreement".

"We are eight weeks out from the deadline for reaching an agreement.

"Ministers should be getting on the job of negotiating a Brexit deal that works for Britain, not publishing vague documents that will convince no-one," he said.

"A no-deal Brexit has never been viable and would represent a complete failure of the Government's negotiating strategy."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said the reports confirmed no-deal Brexit was not a credible option.

"It would be devastating for working people," she said. "The Government cannot allow us to crash out.

"The Prime Minister must throw out her red lines, face down the extremists in her party, and negotiate a deal that works for the whole of the UK."

GMB national secretary Jude Brimble said, having told the public a trade deal would be easiest thing in the world, the Government was now preparing for chaos.

She said: "This Conservative Government is gambling with UK industry and people's livelihoods.

"In their frantic scramble to keep the party and fragile coalition together they are showing an utter contempt for the British public.

"Ministers said a trade deal would be the easiest thing in the world and now with a few months to go we are preparing for chaos."