Deloitte Seeks to Mend Bridges With May After Brexit Memo Row

  • Company to stop bidding for contracts for six months: Times
  • Deloitte apologized for ‘unintended disruption’ to government

Theresa May ahead of a commons select committee hearing in London.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Deloitte LLP is trying to repair damaged relations with Prime Minister Theresa May after a leaked memo suggested her team was struggling with Brexit, with the Times of London reporting the consulting firm decided to stop bidding for government contracts for six months as a conciliatory gesture.

Cabinet splits delayed work on a negotiating strategy while officials battled with 500 separate projects relating to the U.K.’s departure from the European Union, according to a two-page assessment from a Deloitte employee obtained by The Times last month.

“Deloitte regrets the publication of the two-page note, and has apologized for the unintended disruption it caused government,” the company said in a statement by e-mail. “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.”

May’s administration, which only took office in July, has had a choppy relationship with the pro-European Union business world and has set itself a deadline of starting formal Brexit negotiations by the end of March 2017. While the premier hasn’t set out any detailed negotiating plans, her ministers said substantial amounts of work still need to be done before talks can begin. 

Two new government departments are recruiting hundreds of officials to work on delivering Brexit. Private sector consultants like Deloitte are needed to advise officials as they assess the impact of exiting the EU on different industries and draft proposals for future trading relations with the bloc.

May Offended

The Times reported that May was said to have been personally offended by the memo’s criticism of her for “drawing in decisions and details to settle matters herself.” Deloitte is likely to lose out on opportunities potentially worth tens of millions of pounds over the period, the paper said. 

A spokesman for Deloitte declined to confirm or deny these details. May’s office had no comment when contacted on Tuesday.

May’s office last month rejected the assertions in the memo, which included claims that 30,000 more civil servants would be needed to deal with the workload before the start of negotiations.

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