The British government has no overall plan for Brexit due to divisions in cabinet, a leaked Cabinet Office memo seen by The Times newspaper says.
The government there may need another six months to decide on Brexit priorities due to splits within cabinet, The Times newspaper refers to the leaked memo as saying.
The memo, titled “Brexit Update”, criticises Prime Minister Theresa May for her tendency of “drawing in decisions and details to settle the matter herself,” The Times said.
According to the newspaper, the memo, written by a consultant working for the Cabinet Office, warns that many businesses may now “point a gun at the government’s head” because of assurances given to car manufacturer Nissan about negating any financial impact from Brexit.
The memo also suggests the UK government does not have enough officials to implement Brexit quickly, while departments are developing individual plans resulting in “well over 500 projects”.
“This is not a government report and we don’t recognise the claims made in it,” a spokesman for Ms May’s office said.
“We are focused on getting on with the job of delivering Brexit and making a success of it.”
Ms May has promised to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which kicks off two years of talks to leave the EU, by the end of March but she has so far given little away about her plans for Britain’s future relationship with the bloc.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has said he has no idea where report came from.
Speaking on BBC’s Today radio programme, Mr Grayling said his own experience was very different.
He said he sits on the Brexit cabinet committee and has seen a process that is complex, but he said he does not see the nature of the challenge set out by the Times.
Separately, the head of the International Monetary Fund has said “significant uncertainty” remains over the UK’s future relationship with the European Union.
Christine Lagarde refused to comment directly on whether she believed Brexit would damage the UK economy, saying: “We’ll see how it goes. Certainly what we have at the moment, still, is significant uncertainty as to what the terms and conditions of the relationship will be between Europe and the United Kingdom.
“We’ve been partners for a long time and I hope it continues.”
Ms Lagarde had rated the consequences of leaving the EU between “pretty bad to very, very bad” for the UK.
After the referendum result in June, she said: “We urge the authorities in the UK and Europe to work collaboratively to ensure a smooth transition to a new economic relationship between the UK and the EU, including by clarifying the procedures and broad objectives that will guide the process.”
Foster to meet Taoiseach for talks on Brexit
Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster will travel to Dublin this evening for a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
It is expected the talks will focus on how to get the best possible deal for Ireland, north and south, from the negotiations that will take the UK out of the European Union.
The DUP leader declined the invitation to Enda Kenny’s all island Civic Forum on Brexit earlier this month.
At her party conference two weeks ago she accused the Government of encouraging the poaching of existing and potential investors from Northern Ireland.
On Friday Ms Foster and Mr Kenny will be central figures in the North South Ministerial Council due to take place in Armagh.