Theresa May's Brexit deal risks causing a "never-ending nightmare" for British citzens and businesses, two former senior civil servants will warn today. 

Lord Kerslake, former head of the Home Civil Service, and Lord Kerr, who headed up the Diplomatic Service, will say that the prime minister's withdrawal agreement would deliver a "leap in the dark" Brexit.

They will speak out as Ms May heads to Ireland for talks with taoiseach Leo Varadkar as she tries to secure fresh concessions in a bid to get her exit plan through parliament.

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Launching a report by the People's Vote campaign that criticises the draft declaration on the future relationship agreed by the UK and the EU, Lord Kerslake will say the current deal would result in "an endless low-intensity political civil war".

The peer will call for Article 50 to be extended to allow for further negotiations, saying Britain is not ready for Brexit and that the "proper functioning of government" requires a deal containing more detail on the future relationship between the UK and EU.

He is expected to say: “There were once hopes, wildly exaggerated, that Brexit would be some sort of dreamland. But it is now clear it will not be an awakening for our country. Instead, it threatens to turn into a never-ending nightmare with no clarity and no closure for a decade to come.

“Brexit will become like a bad remake of Groundhog Day with the country waking each morning not to ‘I got you babe’ but the latest reports from an endless low-intensity political civil war. If – like me – you have found the last two years of political debate by turns depressing, dis-spiriting, infuriating and plain boring – the next decade will just be more and more of the same.”

Lord Kerr, formerly the UK's most senior diplomat and the author of Article 50, is expected to echo concerns about leaving the EU without more certainty about the end destination.

He will say: “To leave on the basis of Mrs May’s deal would be a leap in the dark. No-one knows where we’d end up. The next negotiation would take longer, and our hand would be weaker. The only certainty would be continuing uncertainty.”

The People's Vote report, titled "No Clarity, No Closure", criticises the lack of detail in the draft UK-EU political declaration on the future relationship.

It says the UK is yet to set out how it will guarantee the frictionless trade of goods with Europe or how it will secure a close relationship on services.

The report claims hopes of a close security partnership are already being scaled back and suggests Ms May might have to ditch her insistence that freedom of movement will end once Britain leaves the EU.

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