UK prepares for Brexit’s worst: food, fuel and drug shortages
The U.K. will face shortages of food, fuel and medical supplies without a divorce deal with the European Union, according to leaked official documents obtained by the Sunday Times.
The government documents compiled by the Cabinet Office — which were contested by internal ministers — forecasted jammed ports, public outrage and widespread trade disruption, projecting likely chaos in a “no-deal” Brexit scenario. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vows he will lead the nation to exit the EU by Oct. 31, with or without a negotiated deal.
The Brexit hardliner has been an outspoken advocate of leaving the 28-nation bloc, but the logistics of dismantling the relationship are proving somewhat more challenging. In the biggest geopolitical move for the nation since World War II, Britain is expected to increase reliance on its special relationship with the U.S. for trade post-Brexit. The Trump administration has pledged to be a steadfast partner throughout the divorce process and has been in talks with Johnson throughout his post.
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“Compiled this month by the Cabinet Office under the codename Operation Yellowhammer, the dossier offers a rare glimpse into the covert planning being carried out by the government to avert a catastrophic collapse in the nation’s infrastructure,” the Times reported.
The minister in charge of coordinating no-deal preparations, Michael Gove, challenged the documents’ catastrophic predictions, saying they set out a “worst-case scenario” and plans for Brexit have been accelerated since Johnson’s installment.
Gove responded on Twitter to the leaked documents, assuring citizens the government is developing a Brexit plan with or without EU engagement.
For example, The Times found that 85 percent of lorries and trucks crossing the British-French channel “may not be ready” for French customs and as a result, traffic at the ports could be delayed for up to three months. The documents also reveal concerns for a hard border between Ireland — an EU member state — and Northern Ireland — part of the British Commonwealth — as current plans without widespread checks will be unsustainable.
Johnson’s office did not yet comment on the leaked documents, but he affirmed early Sunday that Britain would continue plans to leave the EU in the fall, naming Oct. 31 “Brexit Day” when they would “take back control” of their laws.
In the midst of Brexit threats, the EU has continually refused to reopen the Withdrawal Agreement, which includes an Irish border insurance policy, as agreed to by former British Prime Minister Theresa May last November.
Brexit Minister Stephen Barclay posted on Twitter that he signed a repeal to the 1972 European Communities Act as part of the Brexit preparations. The act, which originally was a landmark EU piece of legislation is now part of its dismantling for Brexit hawks.
More than 100 legislators recently drafted a letter to Johnson urging an emergency recall of Parliament to discuss the situation.
“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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Johnson is scheduled to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week at the G-7 summit on Aug. 24 – Aug. 26 in Biarritz, France and is expected to affirm Brexit preparations and argue again for a new divorce deal.
Politicians across the political spectrum are pressuring Johnson for a clean break, with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn requesting PMs support his plea for a “time-limited national unity government” as an alternative to Johnson’s in early September to delay Brexit, though it’s unclear if his party has the authority.
With the breakdown, experts are projecting gyrations through the financial markets and bruising global growth from the world’s once preeminent financial center.