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18 Aug, 2019 13:26

Scaremongering or worst-case scenario? UK govt at odds over grim no-deal Brexit leak

Scaremongering or worst-case scenario? UK govt at odds over grim no-deal Brexit leak

British officials are struggling to stay on message after the publication of a leaked report warning of food and fuel shortages in the event of a hard Brexit, contradicting one another in their attempts at damage control.

The Sunday Times revealed that a report prepared by the British government predicts serious supply problems with food, medicine and fuel if the UK leaves the European Union without securing an exit deal with Brussels.

Codenamed ‘Operation Yellowhammer,’ the UK’s plan for a hard Brexit could result in a transportation standstill sparking mayhem, according to the leaked report.

British government officials were quick to dismiss the report’s sobering prophesies – but apparently didn’t think it worthwhile to compare notes before issuing their rebuttals.

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Britain’s Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng dismissed the grim predictions as anti-Brexit “scaremongering,” insisting that the UK would be “fully prepared” to leave the European Union, with or without a deal, at the end of October.

Gibraltar, deemed by the report to be completely unprepared for a hard Brexit, rejected the terrifying predictions as wrong and based on out-of-date information.

“We have dealt with all issues relating to the flow of goods, foodstuffs, waste, medicines and the flow of people and vehicles across the frontier,” Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said in a Gibraltar government statement.

The government’s talking points were further muddled by comments made by Michael Gove, the minister in charge of coordinating a no-deal Brexit.

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“Yellowhammer is a worst-case scenario – [very] significant steps have been taken in the last three weeks to accelerate Brexit planning,” Gove wrote on Twitter, seemingly contradicting the counterclaims made by other British officials.

While the merits of the report seem to be in dispute, British officials were quick to assign blame for the leak to Remainer elements from the last government.

According to Sky News, sources inside Downing Street believe that the Yellowhammer report was “deliberately” leaked by a former minister, stressing that the document’s worrying conclusions were “from when ministers were blocking what needed to be done to get ready to leave and the funds were not available.”

Forecasts of post-Brexit chaos are hardly new. Operation Yellowhammer was first reported on months ago, with media outlets openly referring to it as a “worst-case scenario” plan.

Back in April, Sir Mark Sedwill, who is the head of the civil service, warned the government that a no-deal Brexit would bring about a recession, spiraling food prices, and threaten public safety.

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