Quite early in the Brexit process Theresa May declared that no deal would be better than a bad deal. Critics in the UK said she was wrong (on the grounds that no deal would be a very bad deal indeed), this rhetoric was deemed unhelpful in Brussels, and for a while the government toned down the no deal talk. But last week May announced the government would be publishing around 70 papers with information about no deal planning and yesterday, at two separate select committees, Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, and Matt Hancock, the health secretary, revealed that the government was considering how to guarantee food and medical supplies in the event of a no deal Brexit.
But this morning Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister, implied that talk of the UK being able to walk way from the talks without a deal was a bluff. Britain could not afford not to have a deal, he told the Today programme.
I’ve heard a lot of comment on this issue [the possibility of a no deal Brexit] in recent weeks and, to be honest with you, I think some of it is bravado. The truth is that I don’t believe Britain can afford to have no deal on Brexit. I don’t believe that Ireland and the EU would want that either. The negative implications of a no deal Brexit are very significant for Ireland and the United Kingdom. We all have an obligation to make sure that that does not happen.
I will post more from the interview shortly.
Parliament is in recess now and so at Westminster it is relatively quiet. Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: The Office for National Statistics publishes figures on first-time buyer affordability.
9.30am: The Independent Office for Police Conduct publishes annual statistics on deaths during or following police contact.
10am: David Lidington, the Cabinet Office minister, chairs a meeting of the British-Irish intergovernmental conference. Afterward, at 12pm, Simon Coveney, the Irish foreign minister, and Charles Flanagan, the Irish justice minister, will hold a press briefing.
10am: John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, is interviewed on Radio 5 Live.
2.30pm: Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, gives a speech in Washington.
We’ve also got some ICM polling that I will be posting later.
As usual, I will also be covering breaking political news as it happens, as well as bringing you the best reaction, comment and analysis from the web. I plan to post a summary at the end of the day.
You can read all today’s Guardian politics stories here.
Here is the Politico Europe round-up of this morning’s political news from Jack Blanchard. And here is the PoliticsHome list of today’s top 10 must-reads.
If you want to follow me or contact me on Twitter, I’m on @AndrewSparrow.
I try to monitor the comments BTL but normally I find it impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer direct questions, although sometimes I miss them or don’t have time.
If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter.