With less than 75 days until Britain is set to exit the European Union, a government report leaked to The Sunday Times newspaper reveals the disastrous effects a no-deal Brexit would unleash on the country.
The United Kingdom would likely face food, fuel and medicine shortages if it crashes out of the bloc without a transition deal, according to the forecasts compiled by the Cabinet Office under the code name “Operation Yellowhammer.”
The dossier also predicts the introduction of a hard border in Ireland, which has been a main sticking point in negotiations, and severe travel disruptions at UK ports that could last up to three months.
Medical supplies coming from Europe will be “vulnerable to severe extended delays,” and the availability of fresh food will be reduced, causing prices to rise, the newspaper reported.
It added that the public and businesses remain largely unprepared for a no-deal Brexit, and that growing “EU exit fatigue” had hampered contingency planning.
“This is not Project Fear, this is the most realistic assessment of what the public face with no deal,” a senior government source told the Sunday Times.
“These are likely, basic, reasonable scenarios, not the worst case.”
However Michael Gove, the British minister responsible for planning for a no-deal Brexit, said on Twitter that operation Yellowhammer was indeed a “worst case scenario” and that “significant steps have been taken in the last three weeks” to accelerate planning.
A Downing Street spokesperson told CNN “we will not comment on leaked documents.”
Some have disputed the accuracy of the report. The Government of Gibraltar which is a British territory on Spain’s southern coast told CNN the briefings were “out of date” and based on planning for “worst case scenarios” which it has “already dealt with.”
The UK had been due to leave the EU on March 29 this year. But it was granted a new deadline of October 31, after failing to pass a withdrawal agreement through Parliament.