What does leaked memo suggest about plans for Brexit?

The Times of London is reporting that a leaked memo written by a British government consultant says that the government lacks coherent plans for leaving the European Union.

Jack Taylor / PA via AP
A memo reported to have been prepared by a consultant to the British government says splits within Prime Minister Theresa May's team have slowed creation of any strategy for Britain's exit from the European Union.

Britain may have no overall plan for the Brexit, according to a new memo first leaked to the Times newspaper.

The British government denies the memo’s allegations, among which are claims that the Prime Minister Theresa May has little understanding of what the Brexit will really mean for industry, and that withdrawing from the European Union will require 30,000 extra staff.

"This unsolicited document has nothing to do with the government at all,” a government spokesperson told the BBC. "It was produced by an individual from an external accountancy firm. It has no authority and we don't recognise any of the claims it makes. We are getting on with the job of delivering Brexit and making a success of it."

The November 7 memo was written by consulting group Deloitte for the Cabinet Office, and suggests that the government’s alleged 500 Brexit-related projects could be making the process excessively unwieldy.

Although the British people have already voted in favor of Brexit, the government must set in place a number of procedures before it can actually be carried out. Prime Minister May hopes to begin the Brexit process by the end of March next year. It is expected to take two years.

According to the memo, however, it will take about six months for the government to determine its priorities, a lengthy wait that is due in part to May’s desire to settle matters herself.

"Every department has developed a 'bottom-up' plan of what the impact of Brexit could be – and its plan to cope with the 'worst case,” says the report. "Although necessary, this falls considerably short of having a 'government plan for Brexit' because it has no prioritisation and no link to the overall negotiation strategy."

The memo also states that the businesses are right to be concerned by the Brexit, as the government’s current priority is the survival of a Conservative government, not the British economy.

Furthermore, the memo notes that economic power players could, like carmaker Nissan, “put a gun” to the government’s head in order to ensure that they would not be at an economic disadvantage due to the Brexit.

Euroskeptic Tory members of government are calling the memo “bogus,” and say that it is an attempt by industry to undermine the Brexit. Deloitte chief executive David Sproul signed a letter urging voters to vote “remain” prior to this summer’s referendum.

"It's complete nonsense. You don't need consultants who are against Brexit and trying to undermine it. They are not speaking for the Government and I'm very glad they are not. Brexit can be much quicker, better and cheaper than they think,” Tory MP and leading Euroskeptic John Redwood told the Telegraph.

While some Labour MPs agree that the Brexit could be problematic, they say that the will not oppose the process as it is carried out over the next few years.

"To do so would put Labour against the majority will of the British people and on the side of certain corporate elites, who have always had the British people at the back of the queue," shadow chancellor John McDonnell will say in an upcoming speech, reports the BBC.

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