terça-feira, 15 de novembro de 2016
Theresa May furious at ‘unsolicited’ Brexit chaos memo / Eurogroup chief: Boris Johnson’s Brexit vision ‘impossible’
Theresa May furious at ‘unsolicited’ Brexit chaos memo
Leaked memo claimed 30,000 new staff needed to cope with leaving the EU.
By CHARLIE COOPER AND ALEX SPENCE 11/15/16, 2:50 PM CET Updated 11/16/16, 6:39 AM CET
LONDON — Downing Street has reacted with anger to claims in a leaked memo that its plans for Brexit are in chaos because of divisions within the cabinet.
The memo, produced for the government by a consultancy firm and reported on the front of Tuesday’s Times newspaper, claimed that Whitehall was overwhelmed by the task of Brexit, and could require 30,000 new staff to handle Britain’s departure from the EU.
Theresa May’s official spokesperson said Tuesday that “no credence” should be paid to the memo, which she said was “unsolicited” and “nothing to do with the government.”
In unusually harsh language, she criticized the Times and broadcasters, including the BBC, who gave the memo prominent coverage.
“I struggle to understand why such an unsolicited memo which has no credence can make front page news or indeed lead broadcast bulletins in the morning. There is no basis for it,” the spokesperson said at a press briefing.
The memo, which is understood to have been produced by the accountancy firm Deloitte, had been seen by only “one or a few individuals” in government, and had not been shown to anyone in Number 10, including the prime minister, the spokesperson said.
Deloitte was among a range of consultants asked by David Cameron’s government to assess the task facing Whitehall following the EU referendum result, the spokesperson said.
The memo, dated November 7, states that May is “acquiring a reputation of drawing in decisions and details to settle matters herself,” criticizing the prime minister’s approach to Brexit as “unlikely to be sustainable.”
It also highlights cabinet splits between Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Brexit Secretary David Davis and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox on one side, and Chancellor Philip Hammond and Business Secretary Greg Clark on the other, warning that divisions are harming preparations for Brexit.
Deborah Haynes, the Times’ defense editor, who co-wrote the newspaper article, defended its reporting on Twitter.
The memo was “seen and aided by civil servants,” Haynes said in a Tweet Tuesday.
Number 10 should “stop shooting the messenger and start addressing the challenges” the government faces in negotiating Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, she added.
Charlie Cooper and Alex Spence