Statement: Select committees must demand update on government’s no deal Brexit plans

Dr Hannah White, Deputy Director of the Institute for Government, said:

Leaving the EU without a deal is currently the UK’s default Brexit option. Parliamentary attempts to delay the exit date do not change that. But before the Commons votes on the Prime Minister's new plan on 29 January, MPs need to be told how ready Government departments are for a no deal Brexit. 

It must be an urgent priority for all departmental select committees to ask Secretaries of State and permanent secretaries the following questions: 

  • What is your most recent analysis of the impact a no deal Brexit would have in the policy areas for which you are responsible?
  • What is your department doing to mitigate that impact? How likely are those mitigations to be comprehensive and effective? How far do they depend on EU cooperation?
  • How advanced is your department in implementing these mitigations? What is your assessment of the level of readiness of those outside government who need to prepare, in your area of responsibility?
  • What are the areas of departmental responsibility in which your preparations and mitigations will not be complete by 29 March? What are the potential consequences for Government and citizens? 
  • How far do your preparations rely on legislation? Is all the relevant legislation in your area of responsibility in place?
  • What impact does planning for no deal have on the rest of your departmental business?