Brexit secretary David Davis says ministers are planning for “all possible outcomes” of EU talks

 
Mark Sands
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The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

Brexit secretary David Davis has moved to reassure MPs that the government is undertaking contingency planning on Brexit, after a critical report called for more preparations.

The Foreign Affairs select committee today warned "a complete breakdown in negotiations represents a very destructive outcome leading to mutually assured damage for the EU and the UK", and that failure to prepare would be “a dereliction of duty”.

Responding to the report earlier today, Davis said: “We have been planing for the contingencies, all the various outcomes, all the possible outcomes of the negotiations.

“About two or three weeks ago, it was briefed out that I had spent most of the cabinet meeting talking to the cabinet about the importance of making sure the contingency plans were online, as well as the other plans.”

Read more: Key EU negotiator wants Britons to keep their EU rights after Brexit

Speaking on the Andrew Marr Show, Davis said: “But understand, it's the contingency plan, the aim is to get a good outcome. And I am confident we will get a good outcome.

“And one of the reasons we don't talk about the contingency plan too much is that we don't want people to think this is what we're trying to do.”

It comes after Davis warned MPs against seeking to “tie the Prime Minister's hands” over the Article 50 Bill tomorrow.

The Commons will debate the legislation, with speculation rife that a small group of MPs may seek to force through modifications put in place by the House of Lords.

But MPs have already voted to reject similar amendments once before, and if they move rapidly to the same verdict, the government could launch negotiations with the EU as soon as Tuesday, when Prime Minister Theresa May is already due to update the Commons last week's European Council summit.

"By a majority of four to one, MPs passed straightforward legislation allowing the Government to move ahead with no strings attached,” Davis said.

“I will be asking MPs to send the legislation back to the House of Lords in its original form so that we can start building a Global Britain and a strong new partnership with the EU.”

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