Brexit committee warns of impact of no deal being reached

British MPs have warned about the risks of the UK and EU failing to reach a Brexit trading agreement, urging ministers to work out how much 'no deal' would cost

4 April 2017, 8:11am
Theresa May formally triggered Brexit using Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, with the UK due to leave in March 2019
Theresa May formally triggered Brexit using Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, with the UK due to leave in March 2019
British MPs have warned about the risks of the UK and EU failing to reach a Brexit trading agreement, urging ministers to work out how much "no deal" would cost.

Just days after UK Prime Minister Theresa May triggered the formal divorce procedure with the European Union, a parliamentary committee said she must prove that "no deal is better than a bad deal" by offering an economic assessment on the impact of leaving the European Union with no agreement. The committee also called on the government to publish its contingency planning for failing to strike a deal after two years of talks.

The Brexit committee said Theresa May's claim that "no deal is better than a bad deal" was "unsubstantiated" until an economic assessment was published.

"Without an economic impact assessment of 'no deal' and without evidence that steps are being taken to mitigate the damaging effect of such an outcome, the government's assertion that 'no deal is better than a bad deal' is unsubstantiated," Hilary Benn, chairman of the Committee on Exiting the EU, said.

"Parliament must be in an informed position to decide whether a proposed deal is, in fact, better or worse than no deal," he added in a statement.

But the report divided the cross-party committee, with some members saying it was too pessimistic about Brexit.

The government said it was "preparing for all potential outcomes".

May formally triggered Brexit using Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, with the UK due to leave in March 2019.

The Brexit committee's report assesses the government's objectives for the negotiations that are to come over the next two years, as set out in a White Paper in February.

A total of 12 principles were set out, including migration control and "taking control of our own laws".