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We're in good shape for no deal - official

16 June 2019

Image Rareclass via flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Britain is in good shape for a no deal Brexit, according to Mark Sedwill, head of the British civil service. He said on 13 June that preparations for leaving the EU without an agreement were now quite advanced. So, fears of “crashing out” and of “cliff-edges” are out of date. Forecasts of economic doom are not realistic either.

In early March Sedwill told the Cabinet that “No Deal” would trigger a ten per cent spike in food price, send businesses to the wall, damage the police’s ability to keep people safe and plunge the economy into recession.


But the government has reached many formal and informal agreements with the EU in the run up to 29th March and since. These agreements now cover safeguarding citizens’ rights, security arrangements and students’ rights.

Measures to preserve the flow of trade include customs procedures at the Channel ports, landing rights for aircraft, permits for Eurostar, driving permits for hauliers, recognition of safety certificates, allowing live animals and animal products swift entry and so on.

We have also reached trade agreements covering most of our exports to countries with which the EU has trade agreements. We have also become a member of the Common Transit Convention, so hauliers only need to make customs declarations and pay import duties when they reach their final destination.

Sedwill has recognised these new facts, so he could truthfully tell the Institute of Government on 13 June: “I think we’re in pretty good shape for it. We did one of the most impressive pieces of cross-government work I’ve experienced in my career to make No Deal preparations in the run-up to the [original] March-April deadline.”