The government has released documents relating to its “Operation Yellowhammer” preparations for a no-deal Brexit.
Having been ordered to reveal the details by MPs, the five pages published on the government website warn of delays lasting three months at Channel crossings, “significant” electricity price rises and impacts on medicine and food supplies.
The documents have been released after opposition MPs defeated the government in the House of Commons on Monday to order their publication.
Opposition MPs had also demanded the release of private messages between key Downing Street aides – including on WhatsApp and Facebook – over Boris Johnson’s five-week suspension of parliament.
But the government has refused this request, describing it as “inappropriate”.
The “reasonable worst case planning assumptions” of Operation Yellowhammer detail:
- The worst disruption at Channel crossings might last for up to three months before improving
- Lorries could face maximum delays of two-and-a-half days before being able to cross the UK border
- Possible immigration delays for UK holidaymakers at the Channel Tunnel, ferry crossings and airports
- A likelihood of “significant” electricity price rises in Northern Ireland
- Medicine supplies will be “particularly vulnerable to severe extended delays”
- Supplies of some fresh food will decrease, while prices will also rise
- Disruption in law enforcement data sharing between the UK and EU
- Concerns that Gibraltar has not prepared well enough for a no-deal Brexit
- A possible rise in public disorder and “significant amounts” of police time being taken up by protests
- The risk of disruption to fuel supplies in the south east of England
- Possible clashes between UK and EU fishing vessels
- Efforts to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are “likely to prove unsustatinable”
The document also warns readiness for a no-deal Brexit among the public and businesses will “remain at a low level and will decrease to a lower levels” dut to uncertainty over the nature of the UK’s exit from the EU.
This readiness will be “further limited” by what the document describes as “increasing EU exit fatigue”.
The timing of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October also coincides with seasonal risks sich as severe weather, flooding and flu outbreaks.
This could exacerbate a number of impacts of a no-deal Brexit and stretch resources, the document adds.
One paragraph of the document has been redacted due to “commercial sensitivity”, the government said.
Some of the Operation Yellowhammer details had already been leaked to the Sunday Times earlier this month.
Following the government’s release on Wednesday night, Michael Gove – the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the government minister in charge of no deal planning – said: “The document is neither an impact assessment, nor a prediction of what is most likely to happen.
“It describes what could occur in a reasonable worst case scenario, thus providing a deliberately stretching context for government planning to ensure that we are prepared for exit.”
Labour shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the documents “confirm the severe risks of a no-deal Brexit”.
“It is completely irresponsible for the government to have tried to ignore these stark warnings and prevent the public from seeing the evidence,” he added.
“Boris Johnson must now admit that he has been dishonest with the British people about the consequence of a no-deal Brexit.
“It is also now more important than ever that parliament is recalled and has the opportunity to scrutinise these documents and take all steps necessary to stop no-deal.”
Former Conservative minister Phillip Lee, who is now a Liberal Democrat MP, described the Operation Yellowhammer details as “remarkable” and “explosive”.
He also questioned whether it was the full document, telling Sky News: “There’s obviously more to see.”
“If you look at the details of this document, it is shocking,” added Dr Lee.
“Really, did people vote in 2016 to have problems accessing clean water? Did they vote to have problems accessing necessary emergency medicines?
“Did they vote to have to have problems with access to fresh food? Of course they didn’t.”
Credit: Source link