Ministers ramp up No Deal Brexit preparations as May's deal looks doomed – with 10k workers set to be hired to help

Ministers ramp up No Deal Brexit preparations as May's deal looks doomed – with 10k workers set to be hired to help

Civil service chief executive John Manzoni said Whitehall would double the number of staff working on Brexit if talks collapse and Britain ‘crashes out’ of the EU on March 29.

With just 109 days until Brexit Day he told MPs that an extra 5,000 staff had already been lined up and a further 5,000 would be employed if Britain was heading for a “disorderly” Brexit.

The Government has already deployed 10,000 civil servants to work on no deal contingencies, Mr Manzoni told the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

The extra staff is a combination of employees redeployed from other departments and new recruits.

He said Whitehall “can’t hire people fast enough” and the Government had to redistribute large chunks of resources from non-Brexit-facing departments.

But Brexit MPs on the committee condemned the pair for using the phrase “disorderly Brexit”.

Tory MP David Jones told them he was "concerned that the use of expressions like that may be communicating a lack of readiness on the part of the Government and the civil service".

Sir Mark hit back – saying the civil service “don’t have complete control over the circumstances that would pertain in the event of leaving without a deal on March 29,” adding: "There are things that no government can control.”

And Mr Manzoni told the Brexiteer: "It might be inconvenient but I'm here to tell you what I think is really going on."

The news comes days after The Sun revealed that Chancellor Philip Hammond last week stepped up No Deal preparations by releasing £2billion of emergency cash.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill told the same committee today that government departments have “paused” domestic policy work to focus on preparing for Brexit.


Today Mrs May has flown to Brussels for talks with the EU about how to get her Brexit deal through Parliament.

But hopes are fading that she can get anything concrete to bring back to her MPs.

Last night International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said after the PM won her no confidence vote: "Let's crack on with getting the changes we need to the deal on offer and press on with no deal preparations.

"We are leaving the EU in 15 weeks."


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