Theresa May will mobilise her most senior Cabinet Ministers this summer to try to sell her Chequers deal in sceptical EU capitals.
Amid growing concern across Europe over the political impasse in London, Mrs May hopes to put the onus on Brussels to ramp up the pace and intensity of the negotiations.
David Lidington, her de facto deputy, will travel to France, while Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will visit Germany, Home Secretary Sajid Javid will go to Spain and Business Secretary Greg Clarke will fly to Italy. The Prime Minister said last night: ‘Over the summer our negotiating team will be travelling to Brussels to negotiate our vision for the future relationship with our EU partners.
‘We must step up the pace of negotiations and get on to deliver a good deal that will bring greater prosperity and security to both British and European citizens. We both know the clock is ticking – let’s get on with it.’
Theresa May will mobilise a team to step up negotiations with the Europen Union over suggestions a ‘no deal’ situation could become reality
But the Tory revolt against Mrs May’s Chequers plan for a soft Brexit – together with the cool response from Brussels – has led to claims that the UK is on course for a hard Brexit. Both the Government and the EU have stepped up contingency plans for such an eventuality.
It means that when the UK cuts all ties with Brussels on March 29 next year at 11pm (we had to bring it forward one hour because it will be midnight in the EU), all current arrangements with Brussels will end immediately. And there will be nothing to replace them.
It has been described as ‘falling off a cliff edge’ and ‘Armageddon’ by some. Others say such doom-laden forecasts are a continuation of Project Fear, the label pinned to warnings during the 2016 referendum.
Until we actually leave the EU, we won’t know the truth. But with the prospect of a hard Brexit or ‘No Deal’ growing daily, Project Fear is turning into Project Near.
Today, The Mail on Sunday looks at the possible impact of a ‘No Deal’ or hard Brexit on a wide range of issues, from flights to food – and even travelling musicians.
Privately, many Brexiteers admit the UK is in for a ‘bumpy ride’ when we leave the EU, but argue we will be better off in the long-term. Some experts have claimed Britain will lose up to £400 billion in lost economic growth by 2030.
Pro-Brexit Cabinet Minister Liam Fox says the EU would face ‘catastrophic economic consequences’ in the event of ‘No Deal’ – and Ireland’s economy could collapse by 8 per cent. The International Monetary Fund says ‘No Deal’ could cost the EU nearly £200 billion in lost output.
European giant Airbus, which employs 15,000 people in the UK, has warned it may have to cut British operations under a hard Brexit.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar was called an ‘airhead’ by Tory Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg after threatening to ban British planes from the skies above his country.
Michael O’Leary, Ryanair chief executive, has said: ‘There is not a legal mechanism in which the airlines can operate in a hard Brexit or No Deal outcome.’
Chancellor Philip Hammond says while it is ‘theoretically conceivable’ flights could stop straight away, ‘no one thinks that’s where we will end up’.
The Port of Dover says a ‘two-minute delay’ in the time taken to process lorries if there is ‘No Deal’ could result in ‘17 miles of tailbacks’.
Customs chiefs say customs declarations at ports such as Dover could increase fivefold to more than 250 million a year.
Brexiteers say the current trouble-free handling of £80 billion of goods a year at Felixstowe, Britain’s busiest port – including to and from non-EU countries – shows such claims are ‘scare stories’.
Britain’s Minister for Europe David Lidington will be sent to France to carve out a deal while others visit Germany, Italy and Spain
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which represents UK car makers, has said a ‘cliff edge Brexit’ is its ‘biggest fear’. It is claimed tariffs could increase the cost of imported cars by £1,500 on average.
British motorists face having to apply for international permits to drive on the Continent.
London’s Japanese Embassy – which represents 1,000 Japanese companies with UK operations, including Nissan, Toyota and Honda – says a ‘No Deal’ Brexit would be ‘impossible for us to accept’.
According to some estimates, up to 35,000 jobs in the financial sector could be at risk, as well as about £4 billion of tax revenues.
Brexiteers dispute claims that Paris or Frankfurt will replace London as Europe’s financial HQ, but Bank of China UK boss Sun Yu said a ‘No Deal’ would threaten London’s status as a hub for international banks.
The British Pharmaceutical Industry says more than 1,000 medicines made in the UK would need to be relicensed elsewhere in the EU so they can carry on being sold. ‘This is not like transferring a filing cabinet from one location to another,’ said a spokeswoman.
The supply of drugs and medical supplies could be affected by changes to current European regulations, overseen by the European Medicines Agency. MPs voted last week against plans for Britain to quit the EMA.
Once the UK is out of the EU, animal and food products can be exported to France only via Le Havre and Dunkirk. There have been reports that neither can cope with the amount of UK exports which currently do not need checking. The National Farmers’ Union has warned of ‘huge disruption in terms of cost’.
Food and drink
Under a Brexit ‘Armageddon’ scenario, some supermarkets could run out of food within a couple of days. Nearly a third of food in UK supermarkets comes from the EU and reaches shelves in two days.
Some estimates say food prices could go up by 20 per cent. The British Retail Consortium says the average tariff on EU food imports would be 22 per cent.
Wine could rise in cost by a quarter according to some analysts if Britain fails to make a Brexit deal with the European Union
Britain imports 1.8 billion bottles of wine a year worth £2.8 billion – with more than half from the EU. According to some experts, tariffs could help push the cost of French, Spanish and other EU wines up by a quarter after March – sparking the resurgence of alcohol smuggling.
A spokesman for the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said: ‘There must be mechanisms to allow cross-border trade of wine and spirits the moment we leave the EU.’ If not, wine and spirits may ‘not get on to the shelves’ and there could be ‘an influx of bootleggers’.
Extra checks in Paris could cause major delays on the Eurostar, it has been claimed
Passengers face the threat of queues and extra checks at the Gare du Nord in Paris.
The French authorities are refitting the station, but failure to reach a Brexit deal could make delays worse. The Anglo-French Treaty of Le Touquet currently allows for both countries’ passport checks to be conducted as passengers board the train – enabling them to walk straight out of the station when they arrive.
The British Hospitality Association has warned of a staffing crisis caused by the loss of EU workers. In some restaurant chains, as few as one in 25 job applicants are British. But claims that the industry faced chaos were dismissed by anti-EU campaigner Tim Martin, boss of pub chain JD Wetherspoon.
Animals would be stopped from the pet passport scheme inside the European Union if there is no deal, it has now been suggested
There would be no more pets’ passports enabling families to travel freely with their pets to Europe.
About 250,000 British cats and dogs travel to the EU every year.
Exports and imports under the EU rules for industrial chemicals would cease by law. These include chemicals used in toothpaste and shampoo. The Chemicals Industry Association has warned of a ‘catastrophe’ if the UK is excluded from EU markets.
The Association of British Orchestras has warned that money-spinning EU tours by British orchestras could be hit. EU rules that stop musicians having tax and social security deducted from fees while abroad would end.