1. ITV Report

'No deal' not an option says Wales' First Minister

The First Minister is accusing the Prime Minister of failing to show flexibility to break the deadlock in Parliament. Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Wales' First Minister has called on the UK Government to urgently take a no deal Brexit off the table. Mark Drakeford says leaving the EU with no deal would be "catastrophic" for the country.

It comes as the Prime Minister said she intends to meet with theWelsh leader this week in order to hear from a "wider range of voices" in the Brexit debate.

The First Minister will today accuse the Prime Minister of failing to show flexibility to break the deadlock in Parliament and instead presenting a “tweaked” version of a deal which has already been completely rejected by MPs.

Mark Drakeford will warn that while the UK Government refuses to take 'no deal’ off the table, the UK faces an uncomfortably high-risk of a no deal Brexit by default.

Today the Welsh Government Ministers will make a series of emergency statements in plenary on the impact of a no deal outcome on Wales and the work that is underway to prepare for this.

Ministers will outline the risks of a no deal Brexit on health, the economy, transport and farming including:

  • the risk of severe disruption to freight transport
  • tariffs and non-tariff barriers on exports to the EU

The Prime Minister continues to stubbornly push ahead with only a tweaked version of her failed deal.

No UK Government should be capable of consciously allowing a catastrophic no deal outcome, and the Prime Minister must take this option off the table and extend Article 50. This would allow time for the UK Government to change direction and commit to re-entering negotiations with the EU to secure a Brexit that protects jobs and the economy.

The severity of a no deal scenario is so great that if there is no majority in Parliament for this sort of outcome and without a prospect of a general election, we would see no alternative but to ask the public to decide the way forward through a second referendum, where the option to remain in the EU would be on the ballot paper.

In those circumstances, it’s important to recall that we believed in 2016 the best outcome for Wales would be to remain in the EU. Nothing in more than two long years of detailed work on Brexit has led us to change that view.

– Mark Drakeford, First Minister for Wales