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Britain in deep uncertainty over Brexit

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23.12.2018

It’s a sign of the uncertain times in Britain that a health minister’s quip that he was now the largest buyer of fridges in the world — as the National Health Service stockpiled essential medicines to prepare for a no-deal Brexit — was meant to serve as a re-assurance. The claim came from Matt Hancock, who told the BBC that they now would have adequate refrigeration as the NHS prepares to stock six-weeks-worth of critical supplies should Britain crash out of the EU in March. Such planning was the ‘responsible” thing to do, he insisted. Following a Cabinet meeting this week, the government is to set into motion £2 billion preparations for a no-deal Brexit, including having 3,500 troops on standby for contingency needs.

With less than 100 days to go till March 29, when Britain is set to leave the European Union, what will happen after that date remains as open to speculation as ever. But with MPs expected to vote down the withdrawal deal agreed by the UK and the EU in November when they return from the winter recess on January 14, a no-deal exit is becoming a very real possibility.

In the early stages of negotiations, the prospect of a no-deal exit had been touted mostly by those on the right of the Conservative party, who railed against Britain needing to make any payments to the EU as part of a ‘divorce” bill, insisting that the country could do just nicely on WTO terms. The Prime Minister — eager to extract concessions from the EU — insisted that “no deal was better than a bad deal,” and this was largely intended for her European audience. Now, with a withdrawal deal........

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