Rolling coverage of the day’s political developments as they happen, including Theresa May chairing cabinet where ministers are discussing planning for a no-deal Brexit
Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, recently said he wanted to crack down on cabinet leaks. That doesn’t seem to be going well. These are from my colleague Heather Stewart and Sky’s Beth Rigby on what happened at cabinet.
Amber Rudd apparently told this morning’s cabinet that ramping up no deal spending was a sensible precaution. “Just because you put a seatbelt on, doesn’t mean you crash the car”.
Also told Damian Hinds resumed his push for indicative votes on Brexit options; and (as expected) Penny Mordaunt and Andrea Leadsom insisted Brexit should go ahead in March, even without a deal.
I’m sure the message from be cabinet will be No 10’s heading full steam into no deal planning. 1) May hopes it will put pressure on EU 2) May hopes it will give her some Brexiteer breathing space 3) Attention shifts away from second ref …. but 1/2
The anti-No Deal cabinet group isn’t going along. Source tells me Gauke – who I was told has b4 today said publicly in cabinet he won’t accept No Deal – told cabinet that the No Deal unicorn needs slaughtering (h/t @Steven_Swinford)
NEW: cabinet source tells me Rudd also urged caution on No Deal, saying this could not become default govt option & PM had to work cross party. Told she said; “Just because you’ve put a seatbelt on, it doesn’t mean you should crash the car.”
And also told that the position of a number of cabinet ministers still stands after that cabinet meet, they will not support a No Deal Brexit
Am told that Gauke told cabinet that he wanted the option nearer the time no stop No Deal #cabinet
Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, has been in the Commons making a statement about defence modernisation. During the exchanges the Tory MP Will Quince asked Williamson if he had received “any approaches from other government departments about using our world-class armed forces personnel in the event of a no-deal Brexit”.
We’ve as yet not had any formal requests from any government departments. But what are doing is putting contingency plans in place, and what we will do is have 3,500 service personnel held at readiness, including regulars and reserves, in order to support any government department on any contingencies they may need.