British government has "no plan" for Brexit

Leaked memo suggests it could take a further six months for a clear strategy to take shape

British government has "no plan" for Brexit

File photo of British Prime Minister Theresa May | Image: Matt Cardy PA Wire/PA Images

A leaked memo suggests the British government has “no overall plan” for Brexit with a poor understanding of what it might mean for industry.

The memo, obtained by UK newspaper The Times, claims numerous splits at cabinet level are hampering the British government’s ability to agree a clear exit strategy.

British Prime Minister, Theresa May has signalled her intention to invoke Article 50 and trigger the two-year exit process before the end of March next year.

The November 7th memo, entitled “Brexit Update,” argues it could take a further six months before the British government can begin to set out clear targets and priorities for the process.

“Despite extended debate among [department] permanent secretaries, no common strategy has emerged,” it reads.

The document, reportedly written by a consultant working for the Cabinet Office, outlines how government departments have been working independently of each other with each developing a “bottom-up” plan for the impact of Brexit - and a plan for the “worst case” scenario.

 “Although necessary, this falls considerably short of having a 'Government plan for Brexit' because it has no prioritisation and no link to the overall negotiation strategy,” reads the document.

The memo was also critical of Mrs May for “acquiring a reputation of drawing in decisions and details to settle matters herself” and claimed her government does not have enough officials to implement Brexit quickly - with departments developing too many individual plans which have resulted in “well over 500 projects.”

It estimates an additional 30,000 extra civil servants could be required to meet the workload.

Japanese car manufacturer, Nissan said last week it had been given "support and assurances" over trading conditions once Britain leaves the EU and the memo warns big business could soon “point a gun at the government’s head” to secure concessions over jobs and investment.

Responding to the reports, a spokesman for Mrs May’s office said the British government does not recognise the claims made in the memo.

He said the UK government is, “focused on getting on with the job of delivering Brexit and making a success of it.”

In Dublin, the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny will meet with Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Arlene Foster today for talks on the Brexit negotiations.

Both leaders will be focusing on how to get the best deal for the island of Ireland after Mrs Foster turned down the Taoiseach’s invitation to attend the all island Civic Forum on Brexit earlier this month.