Britain will face shortages of fuel, food and medicine if it leaves the European Union without a transition deal, according to leaked official documents reported on Sunday whose interpretation was immediately contested by ministers.
Setting out a vision of jammed ports, public protests and widespread disruption, the paper said the forecasts compiled by the Cabinet Office set out the most likely aftershocks of a no-deal Brexit rather than the worst-case scenarios.
But Michael Gove, the minister in charge of coordinating “no-deal” preparations, challenged that interpretation, saying the documents did set out a worst-case scenario and that planning had been accelerated in the last three weeks.
Apparently 85% of lorries using the main Channel crossings may not be ready for French customs, meaning disruption at ports would potentially last up to three months before the flow of traffic improved.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said it did not comment on leaked documents. But Gove said it was an old document that did not reflect current preparedness.
“It is the case, as everyone knows, that if we do have a no-deal exit there will inevitably be some disruption, some bumps in the road. That’s why we want a deal,” Gove told reporters.
It emerged also that Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will meet with other British political this week to discuss tactics to prevent a no-deal Brexit, Corbyn’s second-in-command John McDonnell told the BBC on Monday.