UK Government Says It Hasn't Explored Brexit Deadline Extension

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In the event of a "disorderly" departure by Britain on March 29, "we would be short a figure in the billions of euros for the rest of the year and a higher figure for 2020", European Union budget commissioner Gunther Oettinger said after talks with European Union ministers.

"Theresa May must now rule out no deal once and for all", he added.

"However, it is the duty of a responsible Government to continue to prepare for all eventualities and contingencies, including a possible no deal".

Five percent had no preference.

MPs will begin debating Theresa May's Brexit plan again on Wednesday, almost a month after she postponed the crunch Commons vote on her agreement.

Nigel Dodds
Nigel Dodds

May is setting up a new Cabinet committee of 21 ministers focused on no-deal planning to be chaired by the prime minister, her spokesman James Slack told reporters in London.

The vote is set for January 15, and May is still expected to lose after the DUP, which props up her government, have reiterated they will still vote against her deal over opposition to the Irish backstop arrangement.

The defeat also highlights May's weak position as leader of a divided party just days before she is due to hold a pivotal vote on whether to approve the Brexit deal she has negotiated with the EU. The EU has signaled it may try to allay the fears of May's critics but will not renegotiate the deal.

Ireland's leader Leo Varadkar has also insisted there can be no changes to the backstop and that he and German chancellor Angela Merkel had agreed to stick to what was previously agreed.

"We would have to react immediately if something were to change", he warned.

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It highlighted again the difficulty she faces with Brexit: May's Conservative Party doesn't like to hear that things might get worse on leaving the European Union, so she can't say so, even if that's what she's being told.

"These are political assurances but there's nothing more we can do".

Of the 20 Conservative MPs who voted against the Government in support of the bill, some 12 represent constituencies that are estimated to have.

"Everyone recognises that Brexit is an existential threat to the United Kingdom automotive industry and we hope a practical solution will prevail", he said, calling for lawmakers to support May's deal to guarantee a transition period.

Congestion at the ports caused by customs checks being reintroduced on goods is cited as among the negative effects of a no-deal withdrawal from the bloc.

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It has directed 2 billion pounds to no-deal provisions and hired some 10,000 staffers, and redeployed hundreds of civil servants to help shorthanded departments and putting about 3,500 troops on standby although to do what no one seems to know. "And I think people are beginning to realise that it's the Prime Minister's deal or there may not be a Brexit". The time for bluffing is up.

Effectively this constrains the government's ability to act to keep its taxation system working smoothly if it pursues a no-deal Brexit against the wishes of a majority in parliament.

It is the Tory Europhiles who have returned from their Christmas break determined to assert their will on the government.

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