Brexit: Downing Street slaps down Boris Johnson after he said there is 'no plan' for leaving EU without any deal

The Foreign Secretary said chances of Britain failing to reach a Brexit deal are 'vanishingly unlikely'

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Tuesday 11 July 2017 13:41
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Boris Johnson says the sums the EU are demanding for Brexit are extortionate

Downing Street has slapped down Boris Johnson after he said there is “no plan” for leaving the EU without a Brexit deal.

Theresa May’s official spokesman refuted claims by the Foreign Secretary that the Government had not planned for crashing out of the EU in March 2019 with no deal in place.

It comes as some members of the Government have tried to distance themselves from Theresa May’s harder pre-election stance that “no deal is better than a bad deal”.

After hearing of Mr Johnson's words, the No 10 spokesman said: “I've repeatedly said that contingency planning is taking place for a range of scenarios.”

Ms May’s “no deal” rhetoric has been criticised by some of her own MPs since the election, meanwhile Chancellor Philip Hammond has chosen to say that leaving with no deal would be “very, very bad”.

Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, Mr Johnson said: “There is no plan for no deal, because we’re going to get a great deal and I would, just for the sake of example and illustration, I would remind the honourable lady that there was a time when Britain was not in what we then called the Common Market.”

Mr Johnson had earlier told MPs that the chances of Britain failing to reach a deal with the rest of the EU are “vanishingly unlikely”.

“It is manifestly in the interests of both sides of the Channel to get a great free trade deal and a new deep and special partnership between us and the European Union, and that is what we are going to achieve,” he said.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry quoted a committee report which branded failing to plan for such an event a “dereliction of duty”.

She went on: “It is slightly baffling, after all it is the Prime Minister, who decided to put the [matter] of the no deal option on the table and she couldn’t stop using the phrase during the election campaign and now when we ask what it means in practice they refuse to tell us.”

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