LONDON (Reuters) - London’s mayor Sadiq Khan said on Friday he had asked the organisation that deals with militant attacks and disasters in the British capital to assess the impact of a “no-deal” Brexit on access to medicines and food and on law and order.
Khan said he would consult the London Resilience Forum, which plans responses to disasters such as the Grenfell Tower Fire, about the implications for Britain of crashing out of the European Union without a deal, saying that such a “catastrophic” outcome looked more likely than ever.
Britain is due to leave the EU in March 2019, and with time running out to secure agreement on future ties, both British and European politicians are warning of the increased chances of a “no-deal” Brexit.
“Even ministers now admit that crashing out of the EU with no deal is now more likely than ever,” Khan said in a statement. “We are now left with no choice but to plan for a no-deal scenario.”
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told ITV News in an interview on Thursday that leaving the EU in a “messy, ugly divorce” would be a mistake that Britain would “regret for generations”, although he tweeted on Friday to clarify that he believed Britain would “survive and prosper without a deal”.
Denmark’s finance minister Kristian Jensen told BBC radio he believed the odds that there would be no deal in Brexit negotiations were 50/50, echoing comments by Latvia’s foreign minister earlier in the week.
Khan criticised the lack of engagement by the government with companies over preparations for a no-deal scenario. The government will start sending out advice to firms about such a scenario in August and September, a British official said.
Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly said that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed in Brexit talks, so a no-deal Brexit would jeopardise an accord reached, in principle, for a transition phase that would extend close ties to the bloc until December 2020.
Khan said he would consult businesses over their contingency plans, with agreement over the “settled status” of European employees dependent on successful talks with the EU over the future relationship with the bloc.
“I am calling on Theresa May to do the only sensible and humane thing and extend the offer of settled status to EU citizens currently living in the UK now, regardless of the outcome of the negotiations,” Khan said.
Reporting by Alistair Smout, additional reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Gareth Jones