Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay has claimed a no-deal scenario could be “mitigated” and was preferable to giving up on the process of leaving the European Union during a visit to the province on Friday.
Speaking during a visit to the Quinn cement works on the border with Ireland in Derrylin, County Fermanagh, Mr Barclay acknowledged the disruption a no-deal scenario would cause but it was better than cancelling Brexit.
He stressed that he remained committed to getting Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal and the Withdrawal Agreement Bill through Parliament as the best way to deliver Brexit.
But if as the clock ticked down to October 31 the UK was faced with the choice of a no-deal Brexit or revoking Article 50 and staying in, Mr Barclay said the negative effects of leaving without an agreement could be limited.
The Brexit Secretary pinned the blame on Labour for the collapse of cross-party talks aimed at finding a consensus at Westminster.
He said: “The division in the Labour Party over the second referendum, I think that’s why they’ve not been able to move forward.”
Mr Barclay has said that if the Withdrawal Agreement Bill is defeated, the deal thrashed out with the EU would be “dead” and the UK would be left with the options of no deal or no Brexit on October 31.
“I think both options are undesirable but I think on no-deal we would have to do all we can to mitigate the disruption - there would be disruption and I have always been quite candid about that, which is why I think a deal is what we should be backing.”