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According to reporting by the Financial Times, the UK’s preparations for a potential ‘no-deal Brexit’ scenario have come to a grinding halt, making it difficult for Prime Minister Theresa May to pull out of negotiations with the EU heading into Brexit season in early 2019. The revelation that contingency plans to avoid a “hard-Brexit” places added pressure on negotiations as PM May struggles to keep voters and politicians on both sides of the Brexit line happy.

As the prime minister prepares for what is arguably the trickiest phase of the Brexit talks, the government’s official position is that it can reach an accord with the EU “” but that it is also preparing contingencies for “no deal” if Brussels tries to strike too hard a bargain.  However, Whitehall officials are privately conceding that preparations for a “cliff edge” Brexit next March are nowhere near the level they need to be if a threat by Mrs May to walk away from the talks were to be credible.  “Our preparedness for no deal is virtually non-existent,” said one senior British official working on Brexit. “Our ability to deliver a ‘no deal’ outcome recedes with every week that passes.”  

 – Financial Times

A government-allocated £1.5 billion for ‘Brexit prepardness’, which is meant to cover all aspects of Brexit planning, only became available in April of this year, leaving hard-Brexit planners only months to accomplish what many expect could take several years.