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Report: UK government halts contingency planning for no-deal Brexit

The U.K. government has suspended with "immediate effect" its contingency plan for a no-deal Brexit scenario as it expects Parliament to approve Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit legislation, Sky News reported, citing a leaked government document.

Clare Moriarty, permanent secretary at the Department for Exiting the EU, said in a letter to senior government officials that no-deal preparations for the Jan. 31 Brexit date had ceased after the House of Commons approved on second reading the Withdrawal Agreement Bill on Dec. 19, 2019.

Moriarty directed senior officials not to authorize new spending for the contingency plan, known as Operation Yellowhammer. She also asked officials to inform staff reassigned to other divisions to return to their home departments, and to shift their focus to delivering the Brexit deal while preparing for the end of the implementation period, according to Sky News.

"We are confident that we will ratify the Brexit deal by 31 January," Sky News quoted a government spokesman as saying Jan. 6.

Parliament is widely expected to approve Johnson's Brexit legislation after his resounding victory in the December 2019 elections. The Withdrawal Agreement Bill is scheduled to proceed to a third reading on Jan. 8.