Politics

Downing Street reveals new jobs and funds for Brexit preparations

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Up to 5,000 staff will be hired by HMRC next year to prepare for Brexit, the Government has announced.

An extra £250m will also be given to ministerial departments as the country gears up for leaving the EU in March 2019.

The new posts and funding will be used to prepare for both a commonly-agreed departure plan and a “no deal” cliff-edge divorce.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman revealed details of the plans to reporters on Wednesday – adding that a new Cabinet sub-committee on post-Brexit trade policy will be set up and chaired by First Secretary of State Damian Green.

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Damian Green will head the new Brexit sub-committee

It came as the spokesman was asked whether Prime Minister Theresa May had “full confidence” in her Defence Secretary, who apologised for touching a female journalist’s knee.

Refusing to be drawn specifically on Sir Michael Fallon, the spokesman simply said Mrs May “has confidence in her Government and her ministers”.

They declared that the Government would “spend sensibly to prepare for Brexit” as speculation mounts about how much money will be committed for “no deal” planning in next month’s Budget.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon leaving Downing Street after a Cabinet meeting
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Sir Michael Fallon apologised for touching a journalist’s knee

And on how Mrs May would respond to the nearly 400 amendments to the delayed EU Withdrawal Bill, they said “we will do whatever is necessary”.

Earlier, Brexit Secretary David Davis told the Cabinet that 300 lawyers have been recruited to the Government’s legal department in the past year.

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He told colleagues: “Alongside the negotiations in Brussels, it is crucial that we are putting our own domestic preparations in place so that we are ready at the point that we leave the EU.”

And Mr Davis added £500m had already been committed for Brexit preparations, with the further funding earmarked for implementing border changes, trade deal agreements and converting existing EU law into UK law.

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