LONDON (Reuters) - The risk of a “managed” no-deal Brexit is rising as Prime Minister Theresa May is unlikely to win enough from the European Union to satisfy Eurosceptic rebels in her own party, a senior British minister told Reuters.
With the British parliament deadlocked, the future of Brexit has been thrust into doubt with possible outcomes ranging from a disorderly departure with no deal to another referendum on European Union membership.
In a sign of just how unpredictable Brexit has become, the senior minister, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the possibility of a second referendum was also growing.
The minister added that there was no consensus for any alternative to May’s deal, which seeks to keep close trading ties with the bloc after leaving.
The option of a “managed no deal” is rising, the minister said, adding: “We are not ready for no deal, the public is not ready for no deal.”
“There is no plan B, at least, not that will get the support of the House (of Commons),” the minister said. “What May can bring back from the EU will not satisfy those that need satisfying.”
May has repeatedly warned that if her deal is rejected then the world’s fifth largest economy might have to leave without a deal - the nightmare option for big business - or that Brexit might be thwarted altogether.
Both London and Brussels have stepped up planning for a no deal exit.
No deal means there would be no transition period so the exit would be abrupt, though the EU and Britain could try to make agreements on certain areas, for example on aviation, to reduce the expected chaos that would ensue.
Britain is a member of the World Trade Organization so tariffs and other terms governing its trade with the EU would be set under WTO rules.
Business leaders are triggering contingency plans to cope with additional checks on the post-Brexit UK-EU border that they fear will clog up ports, silt up the arteries of trade and dislocate supply chains in Europe and beyond.
Editing by Guy Faulconbridge