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Britain may face civil unrest after a no-deal Brexit: Amazon’s UK chief

Shoppers walk past a Debenhams shop in Oxford Street, central London on June 19, 2018. (AFP photo)

The United Kingdom should be prepared for a real civil unrest if it fails to reach a deal on how it should leave the European Union, the head of Amazon’s UK office has warned.

A report by the Times on Monday said Doug Gurr, Amazon’s UK manager, had warned Britain’s new Brexit minister Dominic Raab in a meeting on Friday that the country may face civil unrest within weeks of a no-deal exit from the EU, which is expected to take place in March.

The warning comes amid increasing uncertainty about how Britain would finalize its departure from the EU. The situation complicated earlier this month when Prime Minister Theresa May submitted a white paper to the cabinet outlining her major plans for the final negotiations with the EU. The plan sparked widespread criticism and two of May’s cabinet ministers resigned in protest. Many, including government officials, have speculated about a no-deal Brexit, a situation where May would fail in reaching a deal with the EU on how the two sides should regulate key issues like trade tariffs.

The warning for a civil unrest comes as a shock for Britain, a country long boasting of its high level of living and welfare standards. It came during a meeting between Raab and senior business leaders at Chevening, a Kent country house used by the government.

Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) Dominic Raab leaves 10 Downing Street in central London after attending the weekly cabinet meeting on July 17, 2018. (AFP photo)

Amazon would not comment on its UK representative’s comments. A low-ranking spokeswoman of the giant retailer, however, played down suggestions of unrest.

“Where is the evidence to suggest that would happen?” she said while predicting that London and Brussels would certainly reach a deal on Brexit.

Other authorities in Amazon admitted that a no-deal Brexit could seriously affect the company’s activities in the United Kingdom, adding that they were mulling various scenarios for their post-Brexit operations.

Other business giants have been skeptical of a peaceful divorce between the EU and the UK, saying there is a significant chance of a no-deal scenario.

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