Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Brexit

What would a “no deal” Brexit mean—and what does it tell us about those who want it?

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 17 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k189
  1. Martin McKee, professor of European public health
  1. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  1. Martin.McKee{at}

It is difficult to envisage a worse outcome for the UK than a “no deal” Brexit

There can be no doubt that prime minister Theresa May’s recent cabinet reshuffle did not turn out as planned. The subsequent discussion, however, about who was in or out, and why, overshadowed one widely trailed prediction that did not come to pass. This was the idea that May would appoint a minister with responsibility for a “no deal” Brexit. The story was only officially denied when the reshuffle was finally over.

An obvious question is whether, when the prime minister states that “no deal is better than a bad deal,” she really means it, or is it simply a negotiating ploy? Like so much about the government’s position on Brexit, it is impossible to …

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