Umunna - Government making no deal Brexit more likely

Umunna - Government making no deal Brexit more likely

The Government is about to begin a series of publications on the risk of a no deal Brexit, which is actively being promoted by some Cabinet Ministers and the Brextremists in the Conservative Party. This scenario would be catastrophic for the UK. 

But what the Government is not telling you is that its proposed remedy, the ‘Chequers proposal,’ will do almost nothing to address the nightmare scenario of Britain crashing out of the EU while leaving the UK still bound to EU rules and the judgments of European courts. Because it satisfies no-one, it is making a no deal Brexit more likely. That’s why we need to reject this false choice and instead demand a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.

Under no deal as well as under the Chequers proposal, Britain faces serious challenges from Brexit, including:

  • Customs and borders, an area crucial to Britain’s trade and the public finances. The Prime Minister herself was unable to explain the Government’s customs plan to Parliament, and a botched Brexit risks chaos and trade disruption as importers and exporters will have no common set of rules to determine if, when, and how duties on products will be paid.
  • Trade agreements continuity, where the Government has perhaps been at its most inept so far. Britain faces ground zero for global trade after Brexit, when we would not only lose access to the EU market but the free trade agreements with 65 countries around the world that come with it as well. This would mean a huge disruption and countless new barriers for Britain’s proud exporters, and damage our economy significantly. The Government has had no guarantees for continuity from anyone so far.
  • Commercial road haulage, most notably at the Port of Dover, where it has already been reported that lorries could queue for hundreds of miles, and new car parks would need to be built to accommodate the chaos. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling lacks an understanding for the gravity of this situation, and has undertaken no planning for a scenario which could see delays in food transports and mail into the UK.
  • Drugs such as insulin, which pharmaceutical companies have already begun to stockpile to plan for Brexit. The UK could experience real and drastic shortages of medicines, the human impact of which could be severe. If common drugs become harder to access, and vital drug deliveries are delayed or disrupted, our NHS would find it hard to cope with the consequences.
  • Horizon 2020 & Erasmus, programmes that put rocket-boosters under our world-leading universities. Brexit would not only mean the loss of access to billions of research funding for these great British institutions. It would also mean depriving future generations of the opportunity to live, study, and work in other EU countries to further their knowledge, skills, and talents.


… and what isn’t on the Government’s agenda: security and information sharing. Brexit would mean that Britain would by default drop out of the five data and information sharing systems that currently make it easier for our police forces to track and capture criminals coming into Britain. Losing access to criminal information for plane passengers or DNA data for known suspects from other countries poses a real threat to our national security. It is irresponsible to put this at risk, and it is shocking to see that this subject area will not be covered by the Government’s publications.


Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP, leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:

“The Government is making a complete mess of the negotiations and making a no deal Brexit more likely. A no deal Brexit would be a catastrophe for our country, but so would a botched Brexit deal or a blind Brexit, in which the Government forces us all to walk the plank with no idea where we’ll end up.  

“Whether they voted Remain or Leave two years ago, more and more people are asking what’s the price of a Brexit that will damage the fabric of our country and what’s the point of one that means Britain would not have any increase in sovereignty. That is why the prospect of a no deal Brexit is sitting up in its coffin. Ministers know full well how damaging it would be, but they refuse to take it off the table. Instead they are trying to force Parliament and the country to decide between no deal or a bad deal. It’s the equivalent of being asked whether you’d rather lose your house or lose your job.  

“There is another way - rather than allow ministers to decide our future behind closed doors, we can demand a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal or the outcome of these negotiations so that the public can decide for themselves.