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Secret cobra meetings held to prepare for no deal, MP claims

File photo dated 02/07/16 of a European Union flag in front of Big Ben, as would-be rebel Tory MPs have been warned by Theresa May that they will be going against the democratic will of the British people if they side with the opposition to put constraints on the Government in the Brexit Bill. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday February 7, 2017. The Prime Minister said the House of Commons has already clearly voted in support of the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, which will allow her to trigger Article 50 to begin the formal exit process. See PA story POLITICS Brexit. Photo credit should read: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire

By Harriet Line, Press Association Political Staff

Secret meetings of the Government's emergency committee have been held to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, an MP has claimed.

Labour's Anna McMorrin said the Cabinet Office was preparing for the "very real threat" of no deal by undertaking civil contingency planning and holding Cobra meetings.

De facto deputy prime minister David Lidington did not deny the claim, saying it was right that the civil contingency secretariat plays an "active part in contingency planning for all eventualities".

Ms McMorrin (Cardiff North) asked the Cabinet Office minister during departmental questions in the Commons: "We know the Cabinet Office is preparing for the very real threat that is no deal, with secret Cobra meetings and civil contingency planning.

"Business leaders are warning of the disaster of a no deal or a bad deal. Isn't it about time we put this decision, the biggest facing our generation, back to the people for a people's vote?"

Mr Lidington replied: "There was a people's vote in 2016 which at the time both her party and mine said was going to be the decisive moment.

"It's perfectly right that the civil contingency secretariat in the Cabinet Office takes an active part in contingency planning for all eventualities."

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