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With May’s agreement in balance, ministers warn against no-deal Brexit

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is more likely to leave the EU without a deal if lawmakers reject the agreement Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated, one of her ministers said on Thursday, as a second said a no-deal exit would hit the farming sector hard.

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, walks past a demonstrator dressed as Father Christmas, in central London, Britain December 12, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

Brexit is scheduled for March 29 but, while Stephen Barclay and Michael Gove both warned against an unmanaged departure, what will actually happen on that day remains far from clear.

The future of May’s agreement hangs in the balance in the run-up to a parliamentary vote, and calls for a second referendum – which she has consistently rejected – are growing.

“No deal will be far more likely if MPs (Members of Parliament) reject the government’s Brexit deal,” Brexit minister Barclay wrote in the Daily Express newspaper, arguing that May’s plan was the only “workable deal” available.

Environment minister Gove said British farmers and food firms would face rising costs in the event of no deal, as export tariffs kicked in and border inspections slowed traffic through ports.

Lawmakers must choose whether to accept May’s plans for a structured exit and relatively close economic ties, or reject it and spawn huge uncertainty about the country’s next steps. The vote is due in the week beginning Jan. 14.

NO-DEAL PREPARATIONS

The main barrier to May’s deal is opposition to a ‘backstop’ designed to prevent the return of a hard border between Northern Ire

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