What will happen in 48 hours if there's no Brexit deal?

If she can't get her warring Cabinet to agree a back-up plan for Northern Ireland – that can also get signed off by the EU – then she will have no choice but to start full swing plans for not leaving the EU with a deal at all.

The back-up plan for Northern Ireland is holding up a deal, as ministers and the EU can't agree on the specifics of a customs union get-out clause in the event there's no trade deal signed.

No progress in the next day or two will mean a chunk of decisions need to be made to make sure that Britain is planning properly for No Deal – and there's just over three months until we leave in March.

What happens if we don't get a deal in the next 48 hours?

No Brexit summit

If Cabinet and the EU negotiators can agree on a deal, it then needs to be signed off by the other 27 leaders in the EU with a special Brexit summit.

Mrs May wants to do this before the end of November or there won't be enough time to get all the laws needed signed off before we leave on March 29.

And it needs to be ratified by the rest of the European leaders in their own countries.

Whitehall sources said if she doesn't secure an agreement by the middle of the week, a Brexit summit before the end of the month is OFF.

It would mean the earliest the EU can formally approve a Withdrawal Agreement and the outlines of a future trading relationship would be at its 14-15 December Summit.

Parliament vote put back

A December summit would mean there would be very little time for Parliament to hold a crunch vote by MPs before Christmas.

The last day Parliament is set to sit before Christmas is the 20th – and MPs need to have enough time to debate it before they vote.

If it’s rejected by MPs that gives the PM just three months to either seek more concessions from the EU and come back for a second vote – or opt in full for a No Deal, which means no transition period after March 29.

It also gives the Government just weeks to pass a mountain of legislation to prepare for a world outside the EU.


November 15 is the deadline for Ministers to place an order for ships to bring in necessary supplies – and to put plans in place to stockpile medicines – in a cash of a chaotic No Deal.

Ministers are poised to spend £75million securing ten cross channel ferries to thwart any Brexit chaos – as first revealed by The Sun.

They could then go to Dutch or Belgian ports instead of Calais, with officials choosing which trucks sailed on them.

A decision on whether to green light the plans is expected later this week.


Ministers drew up secret plans to stockpile processed food earlier this year – if EU talks collapsed.

Emergency measures were begun to keep Britain’s massive food and drinks industry afloat – including stockpiling ahead of exit day on 29 March next year.

Similar stockpiles are also being prepared for medical supplies amid fears of chaos at British ports next year.

If Britain starts actively planning for No Deal, these plans will need to be ramped up.


Britain's armed forces are on stand by to help with a No Deal, it was confirmed yesterday.

Sir Nick Carter said the forces would be on hand and "ready to help" if needed in the case we leave the EU without a deal.

But he refused to confirm reports that the army were helping to stockpile food and medicine – as had been feared.

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show today: "What we always do is make sensible contingency plans for all sorts of eventualities."

Earlier this year it was reported that ministers had considered using the army to deliver food and medical supplies if needed.

Borders and IT systems

Ministers need to authorise No Deal projects for new IT systems and projects to protect Britain’s borders.

The Government faces a race against time to replace critical systems, boost Border Force staffing levels and build new infrastructure to track goods in time for our departure next March.

But there's Government's official watchdog has already said there's not enough time to adequately prepare.

This will leave the UK powerless to enforce new customs rules at the border from day one.

No Deal Plus plan?

Brexit champion Jacob Rees Mogg yesterday backed for “No Deal Plus” compromise first revealed in the Sun on Saturday.

Under the plan Britain would leave the EU without a deal on March 29 – but pay £20 billion to keep ties with the bloc as they are until December 2020 to either plan for a No Deal or buy more time to negotiate a new trading relationship. Mr Rees Mogg said: “It would cost us money, but it would finally dispel the ‘crash out’ Project Fear nightmare scenarios.”

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