Tory minister admits party will still plan for no-deal Brexit despite pledges to implement deal

PUBLISHED: 11:24 23 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:53 23 November 2019

The Conservative Party will resume planning for a no-deal Brexit after the general election, a senior minister in the Treasury has said. Photograph: BBC.

The Conservative Party will resume planning for a no-deal Brexit after the general election, a senior minister in the Treasury has said. Photograph: BBC.

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The Conservative Party will resume planning for a no-deal Brexit after the general election, a senior minister in the Treasury has said.

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Comments from the secretary to the Treasury have confirmed fears that the UK could still crash out of the European Union without an agreement in December 2020.

Rishi Sunak is a member of the ministerial committee, codenamed XO and chaired by Michael Gove, tasked with making preparations for a no-deal departure from the EU.

Sunak was asked by the Daily Telegraph whether the committee would continue to meet after the election, to which he replied: "Yep."

"We hope we come back with a majority, in that case we will want to get this deal through, so in theory no-deal should not be something that needs to happen. But there are all sorts of scenarios that might happen," he said.

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"Ultimately our goal for the future relationship is to leave the customs union, to leave the single market, that means a lot of the things we were preparing people to do will still be relevant."

The health secretary Matt Hancock has refused to confirm or deny whether a Conservative government would continue to plan for no-deal if they won the election, but said that the Department of Health has "got all the plans ready", following Sunak's comments.

Pushed on Sunak's claims in the Telegraph suggesting no-deal planning would resume if the Conservatives win the election, Hancock told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme: "I didn't see what Rishi said, but what I can tell you is we've got a brilliant deal and we're going to deliver that deal."

Questioned further on whether Sunak was saying it is sensible to continue no-deal planning in case future trade deals do not work out, he said: "Well the trade deal is also very much deliverable."

On whether the Department of Health is continuing with no-deal planning, he added: "We've got all the plans ready - you don't have to redo plans, we've got the plans ready."

He continued: "We've got the deal, so we're moving forward with the deal."

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