The prospect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal has once again come sharply back into focus.

First published in October 2019.

the3million continues to maintain its Brexit neutral stance (we have done so since 2016 to focus exclusively on citizens’ rights) however we strongly state our opposition (1) to a ‘no-deal’ Brexit:

“No-deal” will be harmful to UK livelihoods, and it risks the supply of medicines (2) and food (3) to UK residents.

▪ It threatens the Good Friday Agreement (4) which brought peace in Northern Ireland.

▪ It also removes a wide range of rights and legal protection (5) from five million people and their families: EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living across the EU.

​Many charities and civil organisations have called on the Government (6) to rule out a no-deal Brexit.

“No-deal” is not a destination in itself (7). Rather, it prolongs our uncertainty and anxiety because it will necessitate further years of negotiation with the EU. The existing questions of citizens’ rights, the Northern Irish border, and a financial settlement will all resurface as soon as the Government seeks a trade agreement.

If a “no-deal” Brexit is the only possible outcome, then the UK Government and the EU should do all in their power to avoid the worst consequences for all affected citizens.

For EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU that means our rights must be secured by an international UK-EU treaty (8), implementing what was agreed in the Withdrawal Agreement for citizens’ rights.

This must be done before Brexit, under Article 50, because it is legally not possible to achieve the same agreement outside Article 50. This is the only way to protect millions of citizens and their families on both sides of the Channel, and give them legal protection which cannot be undermined by future governments in any of the 28 countries.🔷


  1. the3million was a co-signatory of this open letter from over 85 organisations to Boris Johnson in August 2019, expressing our concerns about a no-deal Brexit.
  2. The British Medical Association (BMA) warns about the damaging consequences of no-deal Brexit.
  3. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) says that the retail industry has been “crystal clear [...] that the availability of fresh foods will be impacted” in case of  no-deal Brexit.
  4. A cross section of civil society organisations issued a statement calling on the UK Government to accept that no-deal is not a viable option and to do everything in its power to prevent such an outcome.
  5. The rights and legal protection for EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU which were negotiated in the Withdrawal Agreement will be lost in a no-deal Brexit.
  6. Open letter from National Voices and many organisations to Theresa May in February 2019, calling on the Government to rule out the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.
  7. CBI Director General Carolyn Fairbairn warned that an October exit without a deal won't be the clean break people crave.
  8. A joint brief by the3million and British in Europe explaining how our rights must be secured by an international treaty under Article 50.

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[This piece was originally published on and re-published in PMP Magazine on 5 October 2019, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

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(Cover: wikimedia/the3million. - the3million bloc marching in support of a People’s Vote on June 23, 2018. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)