No-deal Brexit could result in a food and fuel shortage, according to leaked a document. Picture: Jon Super/POOL/AFP
No-deal Brexit could result in a food and fuel shortage, according to leaked a document. Picture: Jon Super/POOL/AFP

Leaked document reveals UK disaster

A no-deal Brexit could have a disastrous impact on Britain, with the possibility of food, medicine and fuel shortages, according to leaked government documents.

The report, compiled by the Cabinet Office under the codename Operation Yellowhammer, was leaked to The Sunday Times newspaper.

Britain is set to leave the European Union by October 31 and the documents warn that if a trade deal is not reached by then it will have a significant detrimental impact.

Under a no-deal Brexit, the UK would immediately separate from the European Union, without any transition period.

The document sets out possible consequences that could arise from entering a no-deal Brexit, with one of the most serious being "severe extended" delays to medical supplies, reduction in the availability of fresh food and even potential shortages of freshwater.

Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate outside the Cabinet Office in Whitehall, London. Picture: Vudi Xhymshiti/AP
Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate outside the Cabinet Office in Whitehall, London. Picture: Vudi Xhymshiti/AP

It said there would likely be a return of a hard border on Ireland and three months of chaos at ports as they struggle to deal with extra checks.

Border delays would also result in a threat to fuel supplies.

Widespread protests that would require "significant amounts of police resources" have also been predicted.

All of this would also lead to significant price hikes on goods coming into the UK, which could threaten "vulnerable" groups.

The types of grim scenarios set out in the report have previously been brought up by economists and industry experts, but have always been dismissed as scaremongering by Brexit supporters.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office said it did not comment on leaked documents, but Michael Gove, the British minister in charge of no-deal preparations, claimed the situations outlined in the report were "worst case scenario".

He added: "Very significant steps have been taken in the last three weeks to accelerate Brexit planning."

But a senior government source told The Sunday Times that these were not just the worst possible outcomes, they were realistic issues that could arise under a no-deal situation.

"This is not Project Fear - this is the most realistic assessment of what the public face with no-deal," the source said.

"These are likely, basic, reasonable scenarios - not the worst case."

Mr Gove has continued to refute this claim, insisting the document was outdated and did not reflect current preparations.

"It is the case, as everyone knows, that if we do have a no-deal exit there will inevitably be some disruption, some bumps in the road. That's why we want a deal," he told reporters.

"But it is also the case that the UK government is far more prepared now than it was in the past, and it's also important for people to recognise that what's being described in these documents … is emphatically a worst-case scenario."

Those against a no-deal Brexit believe the document has confirmed many of the fears that have been consistently brought up as reasons for not leaving the EU until a deal is agreed upon.

Leading Liberal Democrat MP, Tom Brake, said a no deal will have "have wartime implications, in peacetime, all of them self-inflicted".

Labor's Shadow Solicitor General and Shadow Minister for Security, Nick Thomas-Symonds, blasted the government as "reckless" for continuing to push ahead despite a possible no-deal outcome.

"It seems to me is what we've seen is a hard-headed assessment of reality, that sets out in really stark terms what a calamitous outcome of no-deal Brexit would mean for the United Kingdom," he told Sky News.

"The government is reckless in the way it's been pushing forward with no-deal planning in this way."

More than 100 MPs have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to recall parliament for emergency Brexit talks. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/Pool Photo/AP
More than 100 MPs have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to recall parliament for emergency Brexit talks. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/Pool Photo/AP

There has been speculation the document leak may have been caused by an unnamed former minister who wanted to influence negotiations with the EU, a government source said.

"This document is from when ministers were blocking what needed to be done to get ready to leave and the funds were not available," said the source.

"It has been deliberately leaked by a former minister in an attempt to influence discussions with EU leaders."

This week, Mr Johnson will tell French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the Westminster parliament cannot stop Brexit and a new deal must be agreed if Britain is to avoid leaving the EU without one.

More than 100 MPs have written to the UK Prime Minister urging him to recall parliament so an emergency discussion can be held.

"We face a national emergency, and parliament must now be recalled in August and sit permanently until October 31 so that the voices of the people can be heard, and that there can be proper scrutiny of your government," the letter said.


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