Disaster looms: Cobra meet over no-deal Brexit

PUBLISHED: 14:00 12 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:00 12 September 2018

David Lidington did not deny Cobra had met as fears over a no-deal Brexit grow
Photo: PA

David Lidington did not deny Cobra had met as fears over a no-deal Brexit grow Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Theresa May claimed a no-deal Brexit would not be the "end of the world" - but the PM is clearly worried.

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It has been claimed that secret meetings of the Cobra emergency committee are being held to prepare for the UK crashing out of the EU.

Usually Cobra – which stands for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A, where the group meets – is only convened in response to events that threaten national security like natural disasters or terrorist attacks.

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Labour’s Anna McMorrin said the Cabinet Office was preparing for the “very real threat” of no deal by undertaking civil contingency planning and holding the meetings.

De facto deputy prime minister David Lidington did not deny the claim, saying it was right that the civil contingency secretariat plays an “active part in contingency planning for all eventualities”.

Ms McMorrin (Cardiff North) asked the Cabinet Office minister during departmental questions in the Commons: “We know the Cabinet Office is preparing for the very real threat that is no deal, with secret Cobra meetings and civil contingency planning.

“Business leaders are warning of the disaster of a no deal or a bad deal. Isn’t it about time we put this decision, the biggest facing our generation, back to the people for a people’s vote?”

Lidington replied: “There was a people’s vote in 2016 which at the time both her party and mine said was going to be the decisive moment.

“It’s perfectly right that the civil contingency secretariat in the Cabinet Office takes an active part in contingency planning for all eventualities.”

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