Is No Deal Brexit still a possibility for the UK leaving the EU? Latest news

Although Brexit negotiations have been going on for what feels like forever, an outcome is still unclear.

But is a No Deal Brexit still a possibility for the UK leaving the EU? Here's what we know.

What is a No Deal Brexit?

A No Deal departure from the European Union means leaving without formal arrangements for the future relationship or any transition period.

Currently Britain's trade, customs and immigration rules are tied up with the single market and a host of EU regulatory bodies.

Ministers have been seeking a legal deal to replace these with looser arrangements so we are outside the single market and customs union but keeping close ties so cross-border trade is easy.

Negotiations under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty led to the withdrawal agreement in November – but MPs rejected it in January.

Theresa May headed to Brussels on February 20 with fresh plans to fix the hated Irish border backstop.

And the PM also jetted to Strasbourg on the eve of her March 12 "meaningful vote" – which was rejected by MPs – in a bid to get further assurances from the EU.

If Parliament cannot support a deal – and there is no extension – the UK will leave the bloc without a deal on March 29.

That would mean the UK being treated as a "third country" by the EU with commerce governed by World Trade Organisation rules, experts say.

Some Brexiteers say that could be positive – opening up trade with the rest of the world – but many people fear chaos.

On January 6, Boris Johnson said that a No Deal Brexit is the "closest to what people voted for" in the referendum.

He also urged Cabinet Ministers to mirror the British public's "optimism and self-confidence" for the possible exit scenario.

A poll by YouGov on January 14 revealed that 35 per cent of the British public think a No Deal Brexit is likely, 21 per cent think a failed deal will result in a second referendum, 12 per cent said the deal will pass and 10 per cent said a better deal could be negotiated.

The BBC said on March 12 that it understands that the UK doesn't intend to collect customs duties or have any other controls at the Irish border in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

It'll rely on self-reporting by firms instead.

How did the March 12 vote go for the PM's deal?

On March 12, Parliament dealt a major blow to Theresa May, resoundingly rejecting her "improved" Brexit deal just over a fortnight before the UK is due to leave the bloc.
Lawmakers voted by 391 to 242 against her deal, the second time they have defeated it.
On Monday, the besieged PM said she had secured "legally binding" changes to allay lawmakers' fears but it wasn't enough.

MPS rejected the PM's Brexit deal despite her assurance that new agreements reached with Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg would ensure the UK cannot be trapped in the controversial backstop arrangement indefinitely.

It means that Britain has been plunged into chaos – 993 days after the referendum, and with just 17 days before Brexit – as Brits are still in the dark about when, or if we will ever leave the EU.

What was the result of the no-deal Brexit vote?

On March 13, MPs dramatically rejected crashing out of the European Union without a deal at any time and under any circumstances.

Politicians voted 312 to 308 to reject leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.

But, it's not a legally-binding decision, and doesn't rule out the UK leaving the bloc.

How could the UK still leave the EU?

MPs voted to delay Brexit until at least June 30, 15 days before Britain was set to leave the EU as scheduled.

Now, Theresa May would have to head to Brussels and seek permission from EU officials.

But if for any reason they deny her plea, Britain may leave the EU without a deal.

They will discuss the matter for the first time together at a summit in Brussels on March 21.

An extension to Article 50 can only be granted by unanimity among the 27 EU member states, and Brussels has made clear they will do so only if the UK presents a "credible" justification for being given more time.

The European Commission has warned Parliament that voting against Brexit happening without a withdrawal deal in place isn't enough and that MPs must approve the deal, too.

An official from the EU's executive branch said on March 13 that the bloc had already reached a divorce deal with May, yet the House of Commons rejected it – twice.

The PM said that politicians are at the point where they must approve a withdrawal agreement in the coming days and ask for a short postponement to Brexit day, or request a "much longer" extension from the EU to negotiate a new arrangement.

EU chiefs have only agreed to delay Brexit as long as MPs approve of her deal or else the UK will have to leave with a No Deal on March 29.

Jeremy Corbyn said 'The House has definitely ruled out no deal'

What happens if there is no Brexit deal?

Brexiteers say it would be a boost for the UK to be free from Brussels' rules and we will be able to strike deals with other upcoming nations around the globe.

We would also not be obliged to pay the £39billion divorce bill, according to a House of Commons report — but Chancellor Philip Hammond sparked fury by saying we would pay up even without a deal.

Many people fear the UK economy would be hurt by a "cliff edge" Brexit as trade is held up by new border checks and tariffs and more red tape for businesses.

Doom-monger Bank of England governor Mark Carney has warned house prices could crash by a third in a worst-case scenario.

Customs checks on cross-Channel freight could cause havoc at ports, hitting food supplies and other goods such a motor parts.

The Border Force is also planning for a possible No Deal Brexit as they fear there will be "significant outbound queues" at the Eurostar and a "degradation of border security", Sky News reported.

In a pure No Deal Brexit scenario, businesses would lose their passporting rights, which allow them to sell their services across the EU without having to obtain licences in each individual country.

The 310 mile frontier between Northern Ireland and the Republic could become a hard border, according to Eurocrats in Brussels.

The EU's rules may require Ireland to impose customs and other checks to protect the bloc’s border – which some say would mark a return to the dark days of the Troubles.

It could blow a hole in the Good Friday Agreement, with pressure on all sides to find a compromise.

The Confederation of British Industry also said a No Deal Brexit would wipe £193billion off the UK economy, making every region poorer, the Daily Mail reported.

What is the Government doing to prepare for a No Deal?

Ministers have previously announced plans for troops on the street and emergency ferries to cope with a No Deal Brexit.

They will order businesses and families to start preparing for Britain to leave the EU without a deal and release £2billion of extra spending.

Ministers also unveiled the post-Brexit immigration system, which will end preferential treatment for EU migrants.

Theresa May’s Government was plunged into utter disarray over Brexit just 48 hours before a crunch Cabinet meeting over Britain’s future.

In December 2018, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt insisted Britain could “flourish and prosper” if it walks away from the EU with No Deal.

As bitter Brexit battles raged on:

  • It emerged 3,500 troops are now on standby to help out in a No Deal outcome
  • Tory rebels including Jacob Rees-Mogg saved Theresa May from a Commons challenge
  • Ministers got legal advice on how to revoke Article 50
  • Eurocrat Jean-Claude Juncker was seen falling over at a party
  • May narrowly survived a vote of no confidence in her Government by 19 votes
  • MPs won six out of the seven Commons votes on amendments by MPs to her parliamentary motion on plan B on January 29
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock says medicines will be given priority over food imports
  • May delivered a speech in Northern Ireland on February 5 reaffirming there would be no hard border
  • Amber Rudd, David Gauke, Greg Clark and David Mundell said May must take No Deal off the table by extending Article 50 on February 20.
  • The Ministry of Defence set up an operations room in a bunker in case of a No Deal Brexit

Businesses received a 100-page document about Brexit, with a total of 80,000 firms likely to hear from the Government.

The papers showed:

  • Imports from Europe would be subject to customs duties and VAT from day one of a No Deal Brexit
  • European banks will be able to operate in Britain for at least three years without any change
  • But UK institutions would have to strike their own deal to avoid being shut out of the EU market completely
  • Ministers are refusing to impose new checks on European medicines because they fear harming the NHS
  • Organic farmers could be badly hit because their goods would be shut out from the continent
  • Cigarette packets would get new warning images – because the current ones belong to Brussels
  • Civil servants are ramping up their work on No Deal Brexit with thousands more officials involved in the plan

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