PM's deputy forced to deny government 'deep freeze' amid Brexit concerns
Theresa May's deputy has been forced to deny Brexit has forced the government to put any of its functions into "deep freeze".
Cabinet Office minister David Lidington issued the denial as Labour warned the Tory administration was in an "advanced state of decay" and seeking to abandon "non-essential" government business as it advanced preparations for a no-deal Brexit.
Lidington also told MPs they had a "responsibility" to agree a Brexit deal and avoid a no-deal exit.
Speaking in the Commons, shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said: "Yesterday's Cabinet meeting appears to have decided to abandon all non-essential government business.
"It reveals an administration in an advanced state of decay.
You may also want to watch:
"Will the minister now tell the House which government functions he regards as non-essential and is now putting into deep-freeze?"
Lidington replied: "We've taken no decisions to put anything into deep-freeze.
- 1 Empty shelves are partly down to Brexit - but Leavers won't admit it
- 2 The Spanish village with the mythical blue lagoon
- 3 Party politics will not save us from the Tories - we need drastic action
- 4 The Prime Minister is out of his league
- 5 Rabbits defeat French army
- 6 Has something shifted in sado-populist Britain?
- 7 Would Javid have renamed ICU wards 'Drama Queen Zones'?
- 8 Ed Vaizey overtakes Paul Dacre in the Ofcom race
- 9 Priti Patel - the poster girl for our poisonous politics
- 10 Boris Johnson: The sado-populist prime minister
"What we are engaged on is prudent contingency planning so we are prepared against all eventualities.
"I am afraid (Trickett) yet again has ducked the opportunity to say what the Opposition's preferred outcome is if they object to the deal that is on the table."
Tory Brexiteer Andrea Jenkyns (Morley and Outwood), speaking at Cabinet Office questions, highlighted "fears" that the Article 50 process to enable the UK to leave the EU would be drawn out or cancelled.
She said: "In this context, do you agree with me that democracy delayed is democracy denied?"
Lidington said prime minister Theresa May had been clear about the date when Brexit will occur, adding: "It is important we leave but do so in a way that protects jobs, investment and living standards in this country.
"That is why this House has the responsibility to agree to a deal and not go into a no-deal exit."
Earlier, Labour MP Rachel Reeves (Leeds West) shouted "Let's have a vote then" after Lidington highlighted the need to back the Government's deal due to "difficulties for our livestock exporters in the event of no-deal".
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.