09:22 GMT25 October 2020
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    Last week, Michael Gove warned of "much wider disruptions" if British businesses fail to prepare for Brexit.

    Britain's Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told reporters on Monday that the Internal Market Bill’s clauses, which undercut Brexit, would remain in place even though the EU earlier urged the UK to annul them.

    "We want to make sure that the Withdrawal Agreement is implemented in full. But those clauses are there, they're in legislation, supported by the House of Commons, as a safety net, if need be. And those clauses will remain in that bill”, Gove pointed out.

    The statement came after Gove spoke last week in the House of Commons, where he gave MPs the latest updates on the preparedness of UK businesses for leaving the European Union and the government’s preparations to this effect.

    European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic and Britain's Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove hold Brexit talks in Brussels, Belgium September 28, 2020
    © REUTERS / John Thys/Pool
    European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic and Britain's Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove hold Brexit talks in Brussels, Belgium September 28, 2020

    The end of the Brexit transition period is fixed in law, Gove said, adding that many UK companies have not taken all the necessary steps to be ready for it.

    "Our survey evidence indicates that while 78% of businesses have taken steps, just 24% believe that they are fully ready. Indeed, 43% of businesses actually believe the transition period will be extended, even though the deadline for any extension has now long passed and the date that we leave the single market and the customs union is fixed in law and supported across this House", Gove said. 

    He also warned that this lack of preparedness "will be not just economic opportunities missed" but also a "much wider disruption".

    This followed the Daily Mail citing an unnamed source as saying in late August that Gove was doing his best to prepare the UK for a no-deal Brexit, which is seen as the least desirable option for Britain.

    "Michael is working round-the-clock to make sure that if the talks fail – as looks increasingly likely – then the disruption will be short term and minimal", the source claimed.

    The work to this end reportedly intensified following the failed round of talks between Britain's chief Brexit negotiator David Frost and his European counterpart Michel Barnier earlier in August.

    The UK and the EU have been negotiating the terms of a post-Brexit trade deal since 31 January, when Britain left the bloc.​

    The Johnson government has repeatedly rejected an extension to the transition period although some economists warned that the national economy could face significant damage in case of a no-deal scenario. Gove, for his part, said in June that the UK will not extend the transition period with the EU beyond the year-end deadline.

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