‘War cabinet’ and committees to focus on Brexit and no-deal preparations

A new “war cabinet” has been created by Boris Johnson to focus on Brexit and no-deal preparations.

– XS

The six-strong all-male Exit Strategy Committee – known as XS – will meet twice a week as Mr Johnson steps up planning for a no-deal scenario on October 31.

Michael Gove chairs the committee’s first meeting on Monday due to Mr Johnson’s visit to Scotland, but the Prime Minister will chair the following meeting of the committee on Thursday, Downing Street said.

The absence of any female Government representatives on the committee has come under fire in some quarters.

Newly elected Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson tweeted: “The future of our country decided by 6 men pretending they are at war. Is this really what we’ve become?”

Labour MP David Lammy tweeted: “War Cabinet my giddy aunt. We are not at War! This nonsense makes a travesty of those that came together during WW2 and those who sacrificed so much. This looks much more like the committee membership of a posh London club.”

The six members of the EU Exit Strategy Committee (XS) include: Prime Minister Boris Johnson (chairman); Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid; Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and First Secretary of State Dominic Raab; Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (deputy chairman) Michael Gove; Secretary of State for Exiting the EU Stephen Barclay; and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox QC.

Other ministers will be invited to attend as the agenda demands.

– XO

No-deal planning supremo Mr Gove will lead meetings of the Daily Operations Committee, covering all aspects of the Government’s preparations for leaving.

No-deal Brexit - possible timeline
(PA Graphics)

The committee known as XO will meet every weekday in the Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms (COBR) and will be responsible for overseeing all of the Government’s preparations for leaving, 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”.


The Exit, Economy and Trade Committee (ETC) 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.

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