'Recall parliament after Yellowhammer revelations'

Elias Hubbard
September 14, 2019

Boris Johnson's government has released its "Operation Yellowhammer" planning document, which warns of medicine shortages, severe delays at the Dover-Calais crossing and an increase in food prices if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a deal. They were released at the demand of lawmakers who accuse Johnson's government of concealing the ruinous impact of leaving without a deal, and could add to the political acrimony as Britain lurches towards its October 31 deadline to exit the EU. Trucks could initially have to wait up to two and a half days to cross the English Channel.

While the document says that public water services "are likely to remain largely unaffected" thanks to counteractive measures taken by water companies, it warns that there is a "low" risk of a "failure in the chemical supply chain". It warns that: "Protests and counter-protests will take place across the United Kingdom and may absorb significant amounts of police resources".

Mr Johnson said yesterday that he was "working very hard" to strike a new deal with the bloc after the agreement made by his predecessor Theresa May was rejected three times by Britain's Parliament.

Dominic Grieve, who was among 21 MPs kicked out of Conservative Party last week for rebelling over Brexit, said it was extraordinary that a British government "is content on inflicting on the British public the level of disruption which is set out in the Yellowhammer papers". Johnson says he wants an urgent general election to resolve the impasse.

It also said that a no-deal exit could trigger major protests and even riots.

"This is a worst-case scenario which civil servants obviously have to prepare for, but in the last few months, and particularly in the 50 days since I've been prime minister, we've been massively accelerating our preparations", he said. The "Operation Yellowhammer" document sets out the risks in a "no-deal" Brexit scenario.

He was close to tears speaking about his deceased son Ivan and slammed Boris and Gove
He was close to tears speaking about his deceased son Ivan and slammed Boris and Gove Credit ITV

He added: "And while the document is identical to the leaked version over a month ago, the government has appeared to have changed the title from a base case scenario to "reasonable worst-case". From a business perspective, it makes hard the day-to-day transfer of information crucial to the operation of many firms - particularly financial services firms, most of which operate on a cross-border basis.

The Yellowhammer release has also fueled fears among MPs that a disorderly divorce would be as calamitous as the documents warn.

The government refused to comply with another part of Parliament's demand - that it hand over emails and texts among officials and aides discussing the government's decision to suspend Parliament for more than a month ahead of the Brexit deadline.

The government sought to resist the publication of the Operation Yellowhammer document, but lost a vote on the issue in the Commons on Monday, prior to the suspension of Parliament, so it was compelled it to do so.

But the judge said the main aspects of the case were "inherently and unmistakeably political". The cases go to the Supreme Court for a final ruling next week.

Supporters say there may be some disruption but it would not be too severe, and Britain would benefit in the longer term. Without such a deal, opponents say, the world's fifth-largest economy would become subject to an array of trade restrictions with a suddenness that has no precedent.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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