Government doesn’t recognise Brexit, says leaked memo

London: The UK government “does not recognise” and has no overall plan for Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU), a leaked memo has revealed.

Obtained by The Times, the memo dated November 7 warned that Whitehall (the centre of the British Queen’s government, a street lined by offices of government departments and Ministries) was working on 500 Brexit-related projects and could need 30,000 extra staff, the BBC reported on Tuesday.

It also highlighted what it called “divisions within the cabinet” over the direction of Brexit negotiations. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling told the BBC that he had “no idea” where the memo came from.

He rejected the memo’s estimate of an extra 30,000 civil servants that could be required to meet the workload, saying: “I do not know what 30,000 people would do in this process.”  Prime Minister Theresa May hopes to invoke Article 50 — beginning the formal two-year process for leaving the EU — by the end of March 2017.

The leaked memo — written by an un-named consultant and entitled “Brexit Update” — suggests it will take another six months before the government decides precisely what it wants to achieve from Brexit or agrees on its priorities.

The report criticises May, who it says was “acquiring a reputation of drawing in decisions and details to settle matters herself” — an approach it describes as being “unlikely to be sustainable”.  The memo also suggests that the government does not have enough officials to implement Brexit quickly, while departments are developing individual plans resulting in “well over 500 projects”, the BBC added.

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