As the government tried to present a united front during the Tory party conference, Brexit Secretary David Davis’s message to the faithful was that the government has a “determined exercise” under way so that it’s ready for the worst if talks fail. “Not because it’s what we seek, but because it needs to be done.”
In private too, senior officials are growing concerned that the EU’s refusal to move talks on to trade—with just 18 months to go until Britain leaves—will make a deal impossible before the deadline, Bloomberg’s Tim Ross reports.
Leaving the EU without a deal would be catastrophic for business, throwing industries from financial markets to air travel and pharmaceuticals into legal limbo. After decades under European rules, trading terms would revert overnight to World Trade Organization tariffs, and trucks could pile up at ports awaiting customs checks.
Playing to the domestic audience, U.K. ministers stepped up their rhetori…