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No-deal Brexit choice before Indians in UK

'With a new Prime Minister, a new government, and a new clarity of mission, we will exit the EU on October 31'

By Amit Roy in London

  • Published 29.07.19, 2:04 AM
  • Updated 29.07.19, 2:04 AM
Boris Johnson during a speech on domestic priorities at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, England, on July 27, 2019.
Boris Johnson during a speech on domestic priorities at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, England, on July 27, 2019. (AP)

The 2.5-million strong Indian population in the UK, a vital part of the country’s economy and who clearly like the look of Boris Johnson’s new government, will have to take sides as the new Prime Minister launches a campaign to justify taking Britain out of the European Union without a deal.

Asked about the views of Indian businesses, Rami Ranger, the Tory party’s deputy treasurer and now a Boris supporter, told The Telegraph of India he was thrilled “the cabinet for the first time reflects the makeup of modern Britain. But everyone from the Bank of England to multinationals and the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) wants to leave with a deal”.

Boris, who has triggered a 10 per cent pro-Tory “bounce” in the polls, has appointed a “war cabinet” that includes chancellor Sajid Javid and home secretary Priti Patel, with the one aim of enforcing a no-deal Brexit by October 31 “by any means necessary”.

Its key member is Michael Gove, the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who is in charge of no-deal preparations in the cabinet office and who said the government is “operating on the assumption” that Britain will leave the EU without a deal on October 31.

“With a new Prime Minister, a new government, and a new clarity of mission, we will exit the EU on October 31. No ifs. No buts. No more delay. Brexit is happening,” he said in an article in The Sunday Times.

“The EU’s leaders have, so far, said they will not change their approach — it’s the unreformed withdrawal agreement, take it or leave it. We still hope they will change their minds, but we must operate on the assumption that they will not.”

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Javid declared: “In my first day in office as chancellor, I tasked officials to urgently identify where more money needs to be invested to get Britain fully ready to leave on October 31 — deal or no deal.”

He is making available additional spending, which will include financing one of the country’s “biggest ever public information campaigns” to ensure individuals and businesses are ready for a no-deal exit.

The latter will include some 800 Indian companies that have invested in the UK and created an extra 100,000 jobs. That makes India the fourth biggest investor in the UK — and Narendra Modi made it clear at the outset that India viewed the UK as “the gateway to Europe”.

Whether Boris will be able to get a no-deal Brexit through the Commons with a Tory majority of 2 — this could soon be reduced to 1 — remains to be seen.

Geoffrey Cox, who has retained his job as attorney-general, apparently believes Boris can legally take Britain out of the EU even if he loses a no-confidence vote.

It is reported that Philip Hammond, who resigned as chancellor rather than allow Boris to sack him, has met Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer with a view to forming a cross-party alliance aimed at thwarting a no-deal Brexit.

Starmer confirmed in The Observer: “The political direction of travel under Boris Johnson is clear, and so it is more important than ever that we build a strong cross-party alliance to stop a no-deal Brexit.”

The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has now come out in support of remaining in the EU, said on television that he would table a vote of no confidence to bring down Boris’s government: “I can guarantee you this, we will do everything to prevent a no-deal Brexit, we will do everything to challenge this government, and we will do it at a time of our choosing.”

The latest opinion poll, conducted by Deltapoll for The Mail on Sunday, shows the Conservatives have gained 10 points to stand at 30 per cent because of the “Boris bounce”.

That puts them five points ahead of Labour at 25 per cent, with the Liberal Democrats on 18 per cent and the Brexit Party on 14 per cent.

The leading polling expert in the country, John Curtice, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, said the latest survey “gives Mr Johnson some encouragement, but is not as yet a sufficient foundation for him to want to go to the polls. On this issue at least, Mr Johnson would be wise to proceed with caution”.

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