Brexit turning into a costly mess for Britain

The country voted to leave the EU earlier this year

The continuing uncertainty over the terms of the British exit from the EU are proving costly for Britain and fueling uncertainty across the continent.

The cost of negotiating Britain's departure has been estimated at £65 million a year with an additional 520 civil servants required to deal with demand in the trade and Brexit departments.

A report published by the Institute for Government: "Planning for Brexit: Silence is not a strategy" highlighted divisions on the country's Brexit stance and pointed to potential infighting between Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox.

Jill Rutter, who co-authored the report, said: "Ministers will be faced with a series of difficult choices over the shape of Brexit. These are too important to be left to normal interdepartmental wrangling and horse-trading."

British PM Theresa May has yet to indicate when she will formally trigger article 50 which will officially begin the exit negotiations. 

The report stated: "The current position of the outside world trying to divine the Government's position from the personal musings of individual ministers is creating unhelpful uncertainty - frustrating those looking for an early exit, perplexing those with whom we have to negotiate, and unsettling those looking to do business with the UK."

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, has been highly critical of the British position and indicated there will be no easy concessions made to Britain in relation to access to the single market with restrictions to freedom of movement.

He has also lambasted the uncertainty coming from MPs in recent days. Referencing Boris Johnson's support for Turkey to join the EU, Vorhofstadt said: "So Boris Johnson wants to help Turkey join the EU, after he just campaigned for the UK to leave the EU on the basis that Turkey would be joining the EU in the near future."

He continued: "The UK defence minister today says the UK Government will block EU efforts to enhance its security capabilities, even though the UK is leaving the EU, yet they want an enhanced security relationship with the EU after Brexit".

However The Financial times is reporting the former Belgian premier has been voicing a more conciliatory tone saying: “I want to avoid the mistake from the past where we give the impression that we push Britain in one or other direction.”

“That has to be avoided, I think, absolutely. Not to have this love-hate relation as we got for nearly 40 years," he added. 

May's difficulties have been confirmed by former chancellor Ken Clarke who said she is running a "government with no policies" and have no idea how to proceed with Brexit.

Speaking to the New Statesman, Clarke said: "Nobody in the Government has the first idea of what they're going to do next on the Brexit front." 

He added: "Theresa May has had the misfortune of taking over at the most impossible time. She faces an appalling problem of trying to get these 'three Brexiteers' (Johnson, Davis and Fox) to agree with each other."