Classified government documents on the impact of a no-deal Brexit have been leaked on the eve of Boris Johnson’s first visit to European leaders as Prime Minister.
The classified reports warns of low levels of public and business readiness for a no-deal Brexit and detail how ill-prepared Whitehall is for food and medicine shortages, transport disruption and civil unrest expected in a no-deal eventuality.
The Sunday Times was leaked the government document warning of fuel shortages, food price hikes and stockpiling and an inability to stop a hard border in Ireland.
Up to 85% of lorries using channel crossings may not be ready for French customs with goods transports slowing to 40-60% of current levels for three months before flow improves to around 70% warn the documents prepared for the Cabinet Office. The availability of food will be reduced and prices will rise, according to the analysis which requires security clearance to read. There will be a knock on effect on vulnerable groups as the cost of essentials inevitably rise.
There are warnings of a knock on effect too on the rise of social care with small to medium providers struggling to cope.
Fuel tariffs which the government has decided to set at 0% if there is a no-deal Brexit, could lead to the closure of two UK oil refineries, costing 2,000 jobs and fuel shortages for the public.
The classified reports obtained by The Sunday Times warn of the availability of NHS medicines being subject to “severe extended delays”. The paper reports that patients such as children with cancer and diabetics would be put at risk.
This is an awkward revelation for the government which has tried to gag NHS whistleblowers from sounding warnings on how a no-deal Brexit would affect their patients. The Tories have forced 26 drug companies and pharmaceutical organisations to sign gagging orders hiding no-deal Brexit plans from the public.
The government has refused to publish their own assessments of the effects of a no-deal Brexit for some time, so the serious leak in today’s Sunday Times will be a great embarrassment for Boris Johnson.
Johnson is expected to meet French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU leaders at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France. Number 10 says Johnson will insist that parliament cannot delay Brexit further and Britain will leave the EU on October 31 without a deal in the likely event another one is not negotiated by then.
A spokesperson also said that the leaked documents relate to worst case scenarios. But the reports appear to be the latest assessment of the UK’s readiness for leaving the EU with no deal compiled over the last few months and the Sunday Times report a Whitehall source insisting that this is the scenario expected in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The documents purport to outline operation “Yellowhammer” measures to deal with the scenario of a Brexit with no deal with the EU. It acknowledges current plans for Northern Ireland if the Uk leaves the EU with no backstop are unsustainable and there will be a return to hard borders in North Ireland. Protests and civil unrest are expected across the Irish border as a no-deal Brexit causes chaos.
Clashes are also expected between UK and EEA fishing fleets with 282 fishing boats sailing illegally on Brexit Day. Protests are expected across the UK requiring “significant amount of police resource.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has asked cross-bench MPs to “back” him to become caretaker prime minister “before it’s too late” to avoid a no-deal Brexit, according to The Observer.