Boris Johnson ramps up planning for no-deal Brexit
Preparations for a no-deal Brexit are being stepped up by the Government as Boris Johnson prepares to make his first visit to Scotland as Prime Minister.
On Sunday, Mr Johnson set up a network of top-level committees to try to ensure Brexit takes place by the deadline of October 31.
The move came before Mr Johnson makes his first official visit north of the border since becoming Prime Minister to announce a £300 million funding pot for communities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Speaking before his visit to a military base, Mr Johnson called for a renewal of “the ties that bind our United Kingdom”.
“Our Union is the most successful political and economic union in history.
“We are a global brand and together we are safer, stronger and more prosperous,” he said.
Mr Johnson faces a tense encounter with Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson on Monday, however, after she announced she would oppose a no-deal exit from the EU.
Over the weekend, Mr Johnson set up a new structure of Government committees to try to ensure Brexit by Halloween.
The Daily Operations Committee, chaired by Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, will meet every weekday in the Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms and will be responsible for overseeing all of the Government’s preparations for leaving the EU, and a possible no-deal exit.
The committee will meet for the first time on Tuesday and a Downing Street source said it was being structured in such a way so that the Treasury would be “a motor for delivering Brexit, not the anchor”.
Downing Street has also announced an Exit, Economy and Trade Committee will be chaired by the Prime Minister and meet regularly.
It will “have a broad remit and will handle write rounds”, particularly focused on Britain’s future relationships around the world.
The Exit Strategy committee, known as XS, will meet twice a week and be chaired by the PM.
XS will meet for the first time on Monday, when it will be chaired by Mr Gove in the absence of the Prime Minister.
Mr Johnson will chair the following meeting of the committee on Thursday, Downing Street said.
The Daily Telegraph, meanwhile, reported that Mr Johnson was set to launch the biggest advertising campaign since the Second World War to get Britain ready for a no-deal Brexit.
A £100 million advertising campaign will be launched to prepare the country for no-deal, according to the newspaper.
Newly appointed trade minister Conor Burns welcomed the Brexit ad blitz but criticised the previous Government’s failure to adequately fund for no-deal.
He told BBC Radio 4 Westminster Hour: “It is really important that businesses that are not yet geared up, get geared up because this is hoving into reality.
“It is a very serious possibility and I just wish the previous government which was not led by Boris had got on with this a lot earlier.”
Mr Burns added: “Showing that we are aggressively preparing, showing that the Treasury Hammond gloom is behind us and the Treasury are financing the preparations for no-deal is the best way for us to approach our European partners and say, ‘look we want a deal and let’s get back round the table and let’s sort this out’.”