Theresa May has insisted she is preparing for the possibility of no deal being reached in the Brexit negotiations.
The British Prime Minister said it was the Government’s responsibility to “prepare for every eventuality” in the talks, though she stressed it was “profoundly in all our interests” for them to succeed. In her keynote speech at the Conservative Party conference, Mrs May said she was “confident” a deal will be brokered that “works for Britain and Europe too”.
She told delegates: “I believe it is profoundly in all our interests for the negotiations to succeed – but I know that some are worried whether we are prepared in the event that they do not. “It is our responsibility as a Government to prepare for every eventuality, and let me reassure everyone in this hall – that is exactly what we are doing.”
It comes after First Secretary of State Damian Green played down the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal during a fringe event at the conference on Monday. He said: “If you study European negotiations, they follow the same pattern where there’s a lot of posturing, a lot of people saying a deal is completely impossible, and then at the last minute a deal is done.
“It is overwhelmingly almost always the case in the EU that a deal is done.” Meanwhile, backbench MP Jacob Rees-Mogg told a separate fringe event that the UK should be prepared to negotiate on the basis of “no deal is better than a bad deal” and systems should be ready for that.
Mrs May also used her speech to urge the negotiating teams to “reach agreement” on the right to stay for EU citizens in the UK. In a message to the three million EU expats living in Britain, she said: “If you are a citizen of the EU who has made their life in this country, I know you will feel unsettled and nervous.
“But let me be clear that we value the contribution you make to the life of our country: you are welcome here. “And I urge the negotiating teams to reach agreement on this quickly, because we want you to stay.”
Labour MP Pat McFadden, a leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign against a hard Brexit, said: “On the biggest issue facing the country the Prime Minister had nothing new to say. “Britain needs more than tired, reheated Brexit lines to get the talks off the ground.
“The longer they remain in stalemate, the greater the danger that we leave the EU with no deal.”