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Theresa May refuses to rule out no deal Brexit scenario

The SNP's Ian Blackford pressed her on the issue at Prime Minister's Questions.

Theresa May: All possible Brexit scenarios being considered.
Theresa May: All possible Brexit scenarios being considered. PA

Theresa May has again refused to rule out the possibility of a no deal scenario in the Brexit negotiations.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday, she said it would be "irresponsible of government not to prepare for all possible scenarios" in the deadlocked talks with the EU.

She was pressed on the issue by the SNP's leader at Westminster Ian Blackford, who cited research suggesting Scotland and the north east of England would be worst-hit by a hard Brexit.

A recent report by the Resolution Foundation and Sussex University said a no deal Brexit could leave millions of families across the UK hundreds of pounds worse off.

It also indicated tariffs on imports as a result of no deal could raise the price of dairy products by 45% and meat products by 37%, with retail products such as clothing increasing by around 10%.

May visited Brussels on Monday in a bid to break the deadlock in talks between UK and EU negotiators, which reached an impasse over the cost of the divorce settlement.

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1399983-may-heads-to-brussels-in-surprise-bid-to-break-brexit-deadlock/ | default

Blackford asked: "Will the Prime Minister do today what the Brexit secretary was unable to do in this chamber yesterday and rule out a no deal scenario on leaving the EU?"

The Prime Minister responded: "I can confirm that what we are doing is working for the best possible deal for the United Kingdom.

"But it would be irresponsible of government not to prepare for all possible scenarios and that's exactly what we're doing."

Blackford then referenced comments by home secretary Amber Rudd that Brexit without a deal would be "unthinkable".

"I agree with the home secretary," he added.

"Brexit has contributed to a fall in the pound and a subsequent rise in inflation, squeezing household budgets.

"Folk are getting poorer in Britain today."

The SNP MP had to sit down after he misspoke, accidentally saying "breakfast" instead of "Brexit" as part of his question, causing the chamber to erupt in laughter.

'Nearly a quarter of a million more people in Scotland are in work. That is a result of the actions of this government.'
Theresa May

Blackford had been trying to ask about a report of government analysis showing Scotland and the north east of England would lose out most from Brexit.

The UK Government refused to release the report following a freedom of information request, saying it needed to keep it secret.

Blackford further pressed the Prime Minister: "What is the government's analysis of the impact of Brexit in a no deal scenario?"

May answered the question by citing the latest labour market figures in Scotland, released earlier on Wednesday, which show near record-high employment levels.

She said: "He once again stands up and talks about the Scottish economy. He once again makes reference to issues like jobs in Scotland.

"I'm sorry that in his rather lengthy question he did not make any reference to the fact that since 2010, nearly a quarter of a million more people in Scotland are in work.

"That is a result of the actions of this government."

https://stv.tv/news/politics/1400179-rise-in-number-of-unemployed-scots-as-uk-figure-falls/ | default

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