No-deal planning should have started two-and-a-half years ago - Tory MP

PUBLISHED: 11:06 18 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:06 18 December 2018

Tory MP Colin Clark, but you knew that

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A Tory MP has said planning for a no-deal Brexit should have started straight after the vote in 2016 - not three months before Britain's planned exit.

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Colin Clark, MP for Gordon, said there must be a plan in place in the event of the UK departing the EU without a deal.

Prime minister Theresa May announced yesterday MPs would not vote on her Brexit deal until the third week in January.

Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland, Clark said: "No deal is far from satisfactory but ministers are making preparations and we are getting reassurance.

"I've been a businessman my entire life, contingency planning is never a waste of time or a waste of money.

"With the greatest respect to the Treasury, and I only came in here in 2017, immediately after the EU referendum they should have started making preparations and we would now be in a much more solid place to negotiate with the EU.

"I admit, we are right up to the wire, we are very close to the 29th of March. We must have contingency planning in place and ministers are acting wholly appropriately.

"I would have liked to have seen them start a lot earlier, I've been in business for a long time - I would not have left it this late".

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tabled a motion of no confidence in the PM last night, saying she had led the UK into a "national crisis".

But there have been calls from other parties, including the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Greens, for Corbyn to push for a no-confidence vote against the government as a whole.

SNP MP Stephen Gethins described the decision not to call for a no-confidence vote in the government, which if successful, could force a general election, as a wasted chance.

"Labour have missed an open goal here, a golden opportunity", he said.

"We're in a really desperate situation at the moment whereby we're about to fall off a no-deal Brexit cliff edge.

"[Leader of the SNP Westminster group] Ian Blackford called for the prime minister to get together with leaders of all parties, rather than just trying to appeal to the DUP and the hardline Tories, and that has failed.

"The Tories failed last week, the prime minister came out of a disastrous council in Brussels with the other EU leaders and it's fast becoming clear that she's lost control of the situation.

"The only thing this government's got going for it at the moment is a hopeless official opposition."

Scottish Labour deputy leader Lesley Laird said the May had lost control at Westminster, as well as within her own party.

Laird said: "We had indicated that we wanted to ensure that parliament had a meaningful vote.

"Our aim is to bring that back to the House. What was very evident yesterday was that the prime minister had completely misread the mood of the House and that is why I think it was absolutely appropriate at the end of listening to that debate yesterday that Jeremy indicated that he was tabling that no-confidence motion in the prime minister.

"It was pretty evident from all across the House that a number of people who had been backing the prime minister were extremely frustrated with her inability to allow the House to have its say, and in particular, to have its say before Christmas, as she had committed to.

"This is all of the Tories making. This is a prime minister who does not command authority in her party and it was pretty evident, does not command the authority of the House."

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