GREATER Manchester’s mayor has warned a no-deal Brexit ‘would be an economic disaster’, in a joint letter with counterparts from across the country.

Writing to the Prime Minister, Andy Burnham said: "It is unacceptable to play poker…with people’s livelihoods and public services."

"Crashing out is not an option", warns the open letter, signed by Mr Burnham along with Liverpool mayor Steve Rotherham, London mayor Sadiq Khan and Newcastle council leader Nick Forbes.

The government must "stop the clock ticking", the Labour chiefs have urged, adding that no-deal will deal a ‘hammer blow’ to local economies.

“For our great cities and their surrounding towns and communities, a no-deal Brexit would be an economic disaster,” the letter reads.

“It would mean losing growth, losing jobs, and losing money.

“It is unacceptable to play poker like this with people’s livelihoods and with their public services.”

Mr Burnham has previously said the city-region had been "kept in the dark" by ministers on Brexit impact assessments.

And in the joint letter, the former MP for Leigh points to a YouGov poll highlighting how many businesses have been unable to plan effectively for Brexit.

The March 29 deadline for leaving the EU should be extended if a deal is not backed by parliament, the Labour leaders suggest.

“We cannot stand by while political posturing risks crashing us out of the EU without a deal. Our economy simply isn’t prepared. It is time to step back from the brink, and take no-deal off the table for good,” the letter adds.

“If necessary, the Government must stop the clock ticking rather than head towards a disastrous and self-inflicted no-deal Brexit by default.”

The mayor’s letter adds: “Our city regions of the Northern Powerhouse and London collectively represent £712bn, 42 per cent of the UK economy, and are home to over 23 million people.

“No-deal would represent a hammer blow to local economies, all of whom would gladly find use for the £2bn recently earmarked for no-deal Brexit preparations.

“We all have an urgent need to be more competitive and better prepared for trade post-Brexit. Government must provide a Brexit deal to enable those preparations."

Crashing out is not an option.”