The government is prepared to spend “whatever it takes” to ensure Britain is prepared for a no-deal Brexit, Michael Gove has said.
“The government has done a lot to prepare but there is still a lot to do,” Gove – who is responsible for no-deal preparations – told reporters in Northern Ireland.
Gove, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, also said it was “eminently doable” for Britain to leave the EU with a revised deal.
The government pledged last week to spend an extra £2.1bn on planning for no deal, which prime minister Boris Johnson has committed to unless the EU is willing to negotiate Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement.
Johnson sent a letter to all civil servants today that said: “Preparing urgently and rapidly for the possibility of an exit without a deal will be my top priority”.
It also emerged today that Downing Street had cancelled all leave for government advisers until 31 October, increasing speculation that the government is planning a snap election in the aftermath of a no-deal Brexit.
Gove added that the government will ensure that “commerce continues to flow” on the island of Ireland if a no-deal Brexit occurs.
The minister added that the UK is still in discussions with the EU over a withdrawal agreement.
He did not elaborate on what could replace the so-called Irish backstop when questioned by media, however.
Johnson’s government has insisted that the backstop must be scrapped from any Brexit deal.
The EU will not budge from its position that a backstop is necessary to prevent the return of a hard border on the island of Ireland.
Gove told reporters that Britain had made an “absolutely cast iron commitment” not to put any infrastructure on the border after Brexit, even if a deal cannot be agreed.
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