Preparing for two ‘no deal’ scenarios

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab leaves cabinet meeting to discuss 'no deal' preparations Image copyright AFP

A lot of hassle and potential cost for a lot of people.

The government’s spent the afternoon giving details of what might need to happen, if there was no deal with the EU.

There’s no guarantee you’d be able to avoid big phone bills if you use your mobile abroad, although ministers say they’d cap any data charges at £45 a month and some of the firms say they won’t change prices.

If you want to go on the road on the continent, you might need an International Driving Permit.

Free phone roaming ‘not guaranteed’ UK driving licences ‘may not be valid’

If you want to jump on a cheap flight for a last-minute weekend, better check you have six months left on your passport, or you might be turned back.

Image copyright AFP

In that situation, the government would be walking away without being able to tell MPs or the public how much we would still have to stump up.

Ministers’ belief, however, is that the chances of there being no agreement are now relatively small.

They are hopeful that next week EU leaders will give helpful hints at a special meeting in Salzburg.

Yet there is a long way to go until Dominic Raab, or anyone in government, can be sure. And don’t doubt that many Tory MPs are adamant they simply won’t vote for the kind of proposal Theresa May has put on the table.

One senior MP told me: “If people in Number 10 haven’t made clear to her that ‘Chequers minus minus’ isn’t going to get through the Commons, then she is getting the wrong advice.”

After all, there are two kinds of “no deal” – one seems very unlikely, where the EU and the UK simply can’t agree. The prime minister comes back to Parliament and says: “I’m sorry, I tried, but it just won’t wash.”

But the other is that Theresa May comes back with a deal but her party, and Parliament, chucks it out.

The political climate would be different in those two cases.

But in the potential chaos of either, the hassle outlined on Thursday might just be the start.

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