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Corbyn accuses Government of ‘wasting’ billions on no-deal planning

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA

Jeremy Corbyn has accused ministers of wasting £171,000 an hour of taxpayers’ money in “unnecessary” preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

The Labour leader reaffirmed his refusal to meet Theresa May to discuss a way forward unless she is prepared to rule out a no-deal break.

Labour said that over the last two Budgets, Chancellor Philip Hammond had assigned £4.2 billion to no-deal preparations – money which could have been used to support public services.

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Of that, the party said £1.5 billion was being spent in the current financial year – the equivalent of £171,000 an hour.

“We’re ready to talk to the Government and others in Parliament about a sensible alternative plan, but not while Theresa May is wasting £171,000 an hour of taxpayers’ money on dangerous and unnecessary no-deal brinkmanship,” Mr Corbyn said.

“May’s no-deal threat is empty and hugely expensive, wasting billions of pounds we should be spending on vital public services.

“If the Prime Minister is serious about finding a solution that can command support in Parliament and bring our country together, she must listen to the majority of MPs, as well as members of her own Cabinet, and take no deal off the table.”

A Government spokesman said: “A responsible Government must plan for every eventuality, including a no deal scenario.

“We are intensifying and accelerating no-deal planning to ensure we are fully prepared.”