A group of British MPs has accused Prime Minister Theresa May of endangering the UK’s national interest by not preparing for the “real prospect” that two years of Brexit negotiations could end in an impasse.
The all-party foreign affairs select committee criticized and threatened May with dire consequences on Saturday, only days before she is expected to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – the formal process that will end the country’s membership of the European Union.
May had pledged to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, which leaves less than three weeks to begin the Brexit process.
“The possibility of ‘no deal’ is real enough to require the government to plan how to deal with it,” said the chairman of the committee, Crispin Blunt, who is a supporter of ending the UK’s 44-year membership of the bloc.
“But there is no evidence to indicate that this is receiving the consideration it deserves or that serious contingency planning is under way. The government has repeatedly said that it will walk away from a ‘bad’ final deal. That makes preparing for ‘no deal’ all the more essential,” he added.
“Last year, the committee described the government’s failure to plan for a leave vote as an act of gross negligence. This government must not make a comparable mistake,” he continued.
According to officials in London and Brussels, May could begin the formal process for leaving the EU as early as Tuesday.
One UK government official involved in Brexit discussions said the process could begin on Tuesday when May is due to address the House of Commons in Parliament, but would certainly start by the end of the week.
The EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill is set to be debated by lawmakers in the Commons on Monday, when they will decide whether to accept two amendments added to the bill by the House of Lords.