August 19, 2019
Secret government assessments of the chaotic impact of a no-deal Brexit should be published immediately, Jeremy Corbyn has demanded.
Corbyn: Johnson Should Publish Secret No-Deal Brexit Assessments Immediately
The Labour leader said that the very latest confidential ‘Operation Yellowhammer’ reports should be shared to allow the public and businesses to see for themselves the state of Whitehall preparations for leaving the EU without a deal on October 31.
A tranche of no-deal documents was leaked at the weekend, raising the prospect of not just food and medical shortages but also the new possibility of UK oil refinery shutdowns as emergency zero-tariffs affected energy supplies.
It also warned of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish republic, price rises, public unrest and a three month “meltdown” at ports unable to cope with extra checks.
Corbyn hit out after Boris Johnson repeated there would be “bumps in the road” on the way to Brexit this autumn, and after No.10 tried to claim that the leaked papers were out of date.
One Whitehall source told HuffPost UK that the leaked Operation Yellowhammer plans in the Sunday Times had indeed been presented to ministers in recent weeks, including after Johnson took over from Theresa May last month.Corbyn said that “Boris Johnson’s denials can’t be trusted” and “will do nothing to give businesses or consumers any confidence that the dire state of affairs described in the documents aren’t right around the corner”.
Speaking ahead of a meeting with local businesses in Stevenage on Tuesday, the Labour leader said: “The government’s own Operation Yellowhammer dossier makes the chaos and damage that will be caused by Boris Johnson’s no-deal Brexit crystal clear.
“If the government wants to be believed that it doesn’t represent the real impact, it must publish its most recent assessments today in full.”
A special group of Cabinet ministers meets every day to get updates on no-deal preparations, often attended by either the PM or by Michael Gove, the minister in charge of the cross-government planning.
In a bid to reassure voters, “a large scale public information campaign” will be unleashed by Johnson in coming weeks, No.10 said.
The PR blitz will run alongside weekly updates that Gove will give to MPs in parliament from the day the Commons returns from its summer recess, government sources added.
Business chiefs and industry leaders in charge of delivery of food and goods to shops and companies warned on Monday that there should be maximum transparency about the risks.
The Freight Transport Association said that the risk of serious disruption was “a massive concern” and complained that the government “has not been clear with us” about the impact of any impact on fuel supplies.
CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn told the BBC that aside from specific short-term disruption, the leaked report confirmed the wider hit to the UK economy that some businesses had been warning about over the past three years.
“I think that what Yellowhammer does show is just how incredibly serious for our economy a no-deal outcome would be. It is difficult to predict exactly what the outcome could be but in terms of our conversations with businesses over the years, these feel like plausible outcomes.”
A Downing Street spokeswoman said the leaked Operation Yellowhammer no-deal Brexit dossier was “out of date” and “we are making all necessary preparations ahead of October 31”.
The spokeswoman said: “In relation to business we have been engaging widely and will continue to do so and that’s been significantly stepped up in recent weeks.
“You can expect to see further information being published in the coming weeks in relation to how the public... can further prepare and the changes that they are likely to see across a range of areas.”
Meanwhile, pro-Remain Tory MPs have hit back at suggestions by some Downing Street sources that disgruntled former ministers were responsible for the leaks. One said the tactic was “classic Vote Leave”.
One former minister Alistair Burt said that he objected to being called “a collaborator” for simply insisting that parliament should “hold the government to account and do its job”.Related... UK Environmental And Labour Standards Will 'Diverge' After Brexit, Boris Johnson Tells EU EU Citizens Face 'Windrush' Threat Under Tougher No-Deal Brexit Criminality Checks Boris Johnson 'Confident' EU Will Renegotiate Brexit As No-Deal Fears Grow
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