What does it mean if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal?
What is a No Deal Brexit?
A No Deal departure from the European Union means leaving without formal arrangements for the future relationship or any transition period.
Currently Britain's trade, customs and immigration rules are tied up with the single market and a host of EU regulatory bodies.
Ministers are seeking a legal deal to replace these with looser arrangements so we are outside the single market and customs union but keeping close ties so cross-border trade is easy.
Negotiations under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty led to the withdrawal agreement in November – but MPs rejected it in January.
Theresa May headed to Brussels on February 20 with fresh plans to fix the hated Irish border backstop.
Eurocrats have privately hinted they are open to tweaking the wording to reassure MPs and help get a deal passed.
If Parliament cannot support a deal – and there is no extension – the UK will leave the EU without a deal on March 29.
That would mean the UK being treated as a "third country" by the EU with commerce governed by World Trade Organisation rules, experts say.
Some Brexiteers say that could be positive – opening up trade with the rest of the world – but many people fear chaos.
On January 6, Boris Johnson said that a No Deal Brexit is the "closest to what people voted for" in the referendum.
He also urged Cabinet Ministers to mirror the British public's "optimism and self-confidence" for the possible exit scenario.
A poll by YouGov on January 14 revealed that 35 per cent of the British public think a No Deal Brexit is likely, 21 per cent think a failed deal will result in a second referendum, 12 per cent said the deal will pass and 10 per cent said a better deal could be negotiated.
What happens if there is no Brexit deal?
Brexiteers say it would be a boost for the UK to be free from Brussels' rules and we will be able to strike deals with other upcoming nations around the globe.
We would also not be obliged to pay the £39billion divorce bill, according to a House of Commons report — but Chancellor Philip Hammond sparked fury by saying we would pay up even without a deal.
Many people fear the UK economy would be hurt by a "cliff edge" Brexit as trade is held up by new border checks and tariffs and more red tape for businesses.
Doom-monger Bank of England governor Mark Carney has warned house prices could crash by a third in a worst-case scenario.
Customs checks on cross-Channel freight could cause havoc at ports, hitting food supplies and other goods such a motor parts.
The Border Force is also planning for a possible No Deal Brexit as they fear there will be "significant outbound queues" at the Eurostar and a "degradation of border security", Sky News reported.
In a pure No Deal Brexit scenario, businesses would lose their passporting rights, which allow them to sell their services across the EU without having to obtain licences in each individual country.
The 310 mile frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic could become a hard border, according to Eurocrats in Brussels.
The EU's rules may require Ireland to impose customs and other checks to protect the bloc’s border – which some say would mark a return to the dark days of the Troubles.
It could blow a hole in the Good Friday Agreement, with pressure on all sides to find a compromise.
The Confederation of British Industry also said a No Deal Brexit would wipe £193billion off the UK economy, making every region poorer, the Daily Mail reported.
When could a deal with Brussels be agreed?
Theresa May has a Withdrawal agreement that has been negotiated with Brussels.
But MPs rejected it when it was voted on in parliament in January.
Mrs May suffered the biggest parliamentary defeat of any British Prime Minister when the Withdrawal agreement was rejected by a majority of 230.
She announced another vote will be held by March 12 – just over two weeks before Britain is due to leave the European Union.
Negotiations are still continuing over the hated Irish backstop which aims to prevent a hard boarder in Northern Ireland.
Parliament have voted that she must seek "alternative arrangements" to prevent a hard boarder.
What is the Government doing to prepare for a No Deal?
Ministers announced plans for troops on the street and emergency ferries to cope with a No Deal Brexit.
They will order businesses and families to start preparing for Britain to leave the EU without a deal and release £2billion of extra spending.
Businesses will receive a 100-page document, with a total of 80,000 firms likely to hear from the Government over the next few days.
The news comes as:
- Ministers unveiled the post-Brexit immigration system, which will end preferential treatment for EU migrants
- But Sajid Javid refused to commit to slashing the numbers to below 100,000
- Immigration staff may be deployed to the borders to deal with a No Deal Brexit
- Philip Hammond was accused of hoarding urgently needed Brexit cash by ministers
- And Dominic Raab said the £39billion divorce bill should be given to businesses in tax cuts to pay for preparations
Theresa May’s Government plunged into utter disarray over Brexit just 48 hours before a crunch Cabinet meeting over Britain’s future.
In December 2018, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt insisted Britain could “flourish and prosper” if it walks away from the EU with No Deal.
As bitter Brexit battles rage on:
- It emerged 3,500 troops are now on standby to help out in a No Deal outcome
- Tory rebels including Jacob Rees-Mogg saved Theresa May from a Commons challenge
- Ministers got legal advice on how to revoke Article 50
- Eurocrat Jean-Claude Juncker was seen falling over at a party
- May narrowly survived a vote of no confidence in her Government by 19 votes
- MPs won six out of the seven Commons votes on amendments by MPs to her parliamentary motion on plan B on January 29
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock says medicines will be given priority over food imports
- May delivered a speech in Northern Ireland on February 5 reaffirming there would be no hard border
- Amber Rudd, David Gauke, Greg Clark and David Mundell said May must take No Deal off the table by extending Article 50 on February 20.
Businesses received a 100-page document about Brexit, with a total of 80,000 firms likely to hear from the Government.
The papers show:
- Imports from Europe would be subject to customs duties and VAT from day one of a No Deal Brexit
- European banks will be able to operate in Britain for at least three years without any change
- But UK institutions would have to strike their own deal to avoid being shut out of the EU market completely
- Ministers are refusing to impose new checks on European medicines because they fear harming the NHS
- Organic farmers could be badly hit because their goods would be shut out from the continent
- Cigarette packets would get new warning images – because the current ones belong to Brussels
- Civil servants are ramping up their work on No Deal Brexit with thousands more officials involved in the plan
May has proposed to Cabinet that she formally rules out a No Deal Brexit on March 29, opening the door to a delay.
The decision will mean putting off Britain’s EU exit by weeks or months if MPs still haven’t passed a new divorce agreement in two weeks time.
On Monday night, three "Remain" Ministers warned as many as 15 could quit if she fails to commit to delaying Brexit.
Jeremy Corbyn could get behind a plan by Labour Remainers to help May pass her Brexit deal – but only if they get another referendum afterwards.
The Labour boss's own plan for a soft Brexit was thrown out by MPs this week, causing him to officially throw his weight behind a fresh poll.
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