UK Brexit chief says govt must prepare for no deal


LONDON • Britain’s new head of Brexit talks said the country needs to prepare for the possibility of negotiations collapsing on a new trading arrangement with the European Union (EU) once the divorce is final.

“Any responsible government must make sure we have planning in place in case of a no-deal outcome,” Dominic Raab (picture), appointed Brexit secretary this month, said on the BBC’s “Andrew Marr Show”. “We want the best deal possible.”

Britions needn’t worry about the prospect of no deal emerging, Raab said, when asked about how that might strand imports at borders, create the need to stockpile food, prevent airplanes from landing, or negate residency rights for Britons abroad or foreigners living in the UK While he expects to reach an accord, planning is underway in “every aspect” to make sure the country is prepared if he doesn’t, he said.

The remarks follow an interview with the Sunday Telegraph in which Raab said that the UK would refuse to pay the £39 billion (RM203.01 billion) divorce bill with the EU if the bloc fails to agree on a deal.

Brexit is dividing the country and May’s Conservative Party, which is split between those who want a clean break with the EU and those who want to maintain closer ties.

A poll published on July 21 showed that the number of voters who oppose Prime Minister Theresa May’s draft plan for a future trading arrangement outnumber those who support it 43% to 12%. Voters are also prepared to back new political parties, either a right-wing group supporting Brexit or a centrist force opposed to leaving the EU.

Raab, 44, became Brexit secretary on July 9 after David Davis resigned the post in protest of May’s divorce blueprint. Raab said he’s going back to Brussels for more negotiations on Thursday.