UK Politics

Deloitte apologises for Brexit memo

Theresa May Image copyright AFP

A consultancy firm has apologised to the government for the "disruption" caused by a leaked memo that suggested ministers had no plan for Brexit.

Deloitte said it regretted the publication, adding it had proposed a plan "to put this matter behind us".

The Times reported this included an agreement not to bid for government contracts for six months.

Downing Street dismissed the memo when it was published last month, saying it had been unsolicited.

The document claimed "well over 500 projects" were being undertaken by Whitehall departments to implement Brexit, creating the need for up to 30,000 extra civil servants, and highlighted "divisions" within government over the strategy.

Its publication in The Times generated a backlash from No 10, which said it "wholeheartedly" rejected the comments it contained, and Deloitte played down the memo's significance.

Five weeks on, the company has said: "Deloitte regrets the publication of the two-page note, and has apologised for the unintended disruption it caused government.

"The note was for internal audiences and was not a Deloitte point of view. We have put forward a plan for working with central government to put this matter behind us."

Downing Street did not dispute The Times' report that the agreement involved Deloitte not bidding for government contracts for six months, but the the company declined to comment on any withdrawal from such bids.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will formally trigger Brexit talks using Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March.

She has refused to offer a "running commentary" on her negotiating strategy.

Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Tom Brake said: "Deloitte might be unable to apply for Government contracts for six months, but other consultancy firms are queuing up for their Brexit pay day... it is the British people who are picking up the tab."

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