Brexit: France activates no-deal plan

If British Prime Minister Theresa May fails to forge a consensus the world's fifth-largest economy will drop out of the European Union

If British Prime Minister Theresa May fails to forge a consensus the world's fifth-largest economy will drop out of the European Union

France this morning pushed the button on a €50m (£44.24m) contingency plan to deal with the fallout from a potential no-deal Brexit.

He held open the possibility of an extension of the Article 50 negotiation period, saying: "Quite clearly, if no agreement has been reached within the time it could be implemented by the end of March, the issue of extending the exit date, extending Article 50, does come into play".

"Prime minister, take it off the table and have a serious discussion about how we approach the future", he said, warning May against any attempt "to blackmail MPs to vote through her botched deal on a second attempt".

"My understanding is that because the bill being brought forward will simply and exclusively rescind the Article 50 notice, the legal opinion that they have is that that will meet the test that the European Court of Justice has laid down for unilateral recision of an Article 50 notice".

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn delivers his speech during the 134th Durham Miners' Gala on July 14, 2018, in Durham, England.

Labour MPs Hilary Benn and Yvette Cooper, as well as Plaid Cymru's Liz Savile-Roberts, Green MP Caroline Lucas and the SNP's Ian Blackford were among the politicians set to meet May, or her cabinet ministers Michael Gove or David Lidington, on Thursday.

"After two-and-a-half years, Plan B is to let parliament take over", the Telegraph said.

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The move intensified pressure on Mr Corbyn to move quickly, after senior Labour figures indicated that the party was ready to table repeated no-confidence challenges to Mrs May if yesterday's vote did not succeed in ousting her.

The business leaders sought assurances from Mr Hammond, Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and Business Secretary Greg Clark, who were also on the call, that a no-deal could be ruled out.

Ever since Britain voted by 52-48 percent to leave the EU in June 2016, the political class has been debating how to leave the European project forged by France and Germany after the devastation of World War Two. "We strongly believe" Britain will leave with no exit deal, French PM Edouard Philippe announced on Thursday, unveiling a raft of emergency measures to cope with that prospect. "I will be fighting them, make no doubt about that", he said. He said Britain needed to get realistic about what was possible.

It says legislating for and organising a second referendum would take "in excess of a year".

But the chairman of May's Conservative party, Brandon Lewis, said on Thursday that Britain should not stay in the current customs union because striking global trade deals after Brexit is a priority. "The reason a no-deal Brexit is so scary is because tariffs on everything are highly punitive under WTO (World Trade Organization) rules", said Andrew Jackson, head of fixed income at fund manager Hermes Investment Management.

United Kingdom share prices were spared heavy losses as analysts said the risks of further deadlock were already priced in and some bank stocks even gained slightly, suggesting optimism for a parliamentary compromise some investors such as David Roberts, co-manager on the Liontrust Strategic Bond fund, said.

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