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Sunday, 23 December 2018

No-deal Brexit travel warning: don’t go on holiday after March 29 (Times)

"Families will be advised not to book holidays after next March, according to contingency plans being drawn up to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

The proposed guidance, which will shock the travel industry, was expected to be discussed at last week’s cancelled cabinet meeting, after civil servants were told to ramp up emergency planning.

Senior officials have explored the idea with at least one cabinet minister and discussed the impact that the advice could have on specific tour operators amid fears it might bankrupt them. A leak inquiry was under way in No 10 last night to establish how the proposal became public.

One option is for the government to cover losses to holiday companies, according to a source familiar with the talks. Steps are being considered to protect holidaymakers who have yet to book trips, amid fears a no-deal Brexit will see flights grounded and spark chaos at airports and ports.

The European Regions Airline Association, which represents 50 airlines, wrote to the European Commission this month warning that it must act urgently to prevent the grounding of flights. It said a no-deal Brexit could have “disastrous consequences”, affecting routes, aviation safety and border security. The Ryanair boss, Michael O’Leary, said in September that a hard Brexit could lead to flights being grounded and that its likelihood was underestimated.

Its rival, easyJet, has registered more than 100 aircraft to a newly created airline based in Vienna and switched pilot licences to German and Austrian permits.

No-deal planning is expected to be top of the agenda when the cabinet meets on Tuesday. A paper circulated to ministers has three options on Brexit: no deal, May’s deal or revoking article 50.

A group of ministers including Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt, Stephen Barclay, Gavin Williamson and Penny Mordaunt plan to use the meeting to push for no deal to become the “central planning assumption”. Hunt said he was positive about a no deal and that he “would like to have a crack” at being prime minister. “I’ve always thought that even in a no-deal situation this is a great country. We’ll find a way to flourish and prosper,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.

Philip Hammond, the chancellor, and Amber Rudd, the work and pensions secretary, are said to be “philosophically opposed” to spending money on an outcome no one wants.

Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, said: “It beggars belief any minister could have considered these proposals and honestly thought a no-deal Brexit is a credible way forward.”

Downing Street said: “We do not comment on leaks.” "

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