"No plan" Brexit memo: Companies will "point a gun at the government’s head"

William Turvill
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Ministers Attend David Cameron's Last Cabinet Meeting
Theresa May took over as Prime Minister in July (Source: Getty)

A leaked memo, claiming the government has no plan on Brexit, warned that companies can be expected to “point a gun at the government’s head”, with the actions of Nissan a “prime example”.

The memo, prepared for the Cabinet Office, also noted that the business world has come to two “unpleasant realisations”:

First, that the government’s priority remains its political survival, not the economy – second, that there will be no clear economic-Brexit strategy any time soon because it is being developed on a case-by-case basis as specific decisions are forced on government.

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The memo, leaked to the Times, reveals that Whitehall is working on more than 500 projects relating to Brexit and could need to hire between 10,000 and 30,000 extra civil servants.

It also said that, due to cabinet splits, the government may need another six months to decide on its priorities.

This was the assessment of a consultant working for the Cabinet Office in a memo titled Brexit Update and dated 7 November.

The memo was also critical of Prime Minister Theresa May’s governing style and said civil servants – who are struggling with the workload and timetable – may need to intervene.

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A government source told the Times the memo had not been commissioned by the government and was prepared under the initiative of the author.

On the “industry domain”, the memo said the government expects more lobbying, with “the Nissan investment decision is a prime example”.

These are viewed as major opportunities/threats for government. Other major players can be expected to, similar to Nissan, point a gun at the government’s head.

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