Britain could face a jump in public disorder, delays at airports and ports and significant rises in electricity prices in the event of a no-deal Brexit, government planning documents released last night confirmed. Operation Yellowhammer, the “reasonable worst-case planning assumptions” for the UK leaving the EU without a deal, also warned of shortages of some foods and delays in importing medicines. The five-page document, released at the behest of the House of Commons, is almost identical to one leaked to The Sunday Times last month.
Operation Yellowhammer documents revealing the Government’s No Deal Brexit Planning have been released by Downing Street on Wednesday – but Boris Johnson has refused to hand over key aides’ emails and texts about suspending Parliament. The prime minister refused to comply with a Commons demand to make public personal messages from special advisers regarding the controversial five week prorogation of Parliament. But the government did release redacted versions of the Operation Yellowhammer documents connected to no-deal Brexit planning, in response to MPs voting for it to happen.
Britain could face shortages of food and medicine and outbursts of civil unrest under a no-deal Brexit, the Government admitted. Michael Gove was forced to hand over secret planning documents on the possible impact of leaving the EU without a deal as a result of the latest House of Commons rebellion. The dossier shows civil servants working on “Operation Yellowhammer” are planning for two-day-long queues at the English Channel, hitting the free flow of goods for several months after Brexit. Ministers published the information just three hours before the deadline imposed by Parliament.
The government has released documents relating to its “Operation Yellowhammer” preparations for a no-deal Brexit. Having been ordered to reveal the details by MPs, the five pages published on the government website warn of a rise in public disorder, delays lasting three months at Channel crossings, “significant” electricity price rises and impacts on medicine and food supplies. The documents have been released after opposition MPs defeated the government in the House of Commons on Monday to order their publication.
A no-deal Brexit would trigger major hold-ups at channel ports, significant electricity price increases, shortages of some foods and delays to medicine imports, government documents reveal. HGV delays of between one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half days would occur at Dover and public disorder could increase, according to the Operation Yellowhammer “reasonable worst case planning assumptions” released in response to MPs voting for it to happen. The six page document was made public after Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament has been ruled as unlawful by judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, prompting MPs to demand he “comes back and face the music”.
Boris Johnson has faced renewed pressure to recall Parliament after the Prime Minister was forced to publish its “worst case scenario” plan for a no deal Brexit, codenamed Operation Yellowhammer. The opposition seized on the release of Operation Yellowhammer assessments of the impact of leaving the EU without an agreement to insist MPs return to Westminster. However, the document, which was released following a vote in Parliament that demanded its publication, is already almost six weeks out of date, meaning it does not take into account Mr Johnson’s ramped up no deal planning in that time.
Nigel Farage has dismissed the published government no-deal Brexit contingency plan as “utter tosh”. The Brexit Party leader told ITV’s Peston show the Operation Yellowhammer papers, which were released to the public on Wednesday night, were “Project Fear mark II” and should be “totally disregarded”. The papers show the impact a no-deal Brexit could have on the country and include details of major hold-ups at channel ports, electricity price increases, shortages of some foods and delays to medicine imports.
Boris Johnson last night defied MPs’ orders that he publish private messages on proroguing parliament only hours after a court ruled the shutdown to be illegal. The prime minister rejected the demand by the Commons to see advisers’ communications, calling it “unprecedented, inappropriate and disproportionate”. He added that MPs were to blame for the “real failure of democracy” because the result of the EU referendum had not been honoured. Downing Street published planning documents yesterday confirming that Britain could run short of fresh food, fuel and medicines after a no-deal.
Senior civil servants could be forced to break the law and face the possibility of prosecution if they help Boris Johnson’s government defy the will of parliament, their union has warned. After No 10’s insistence the government would not comply with an act designed to avoid a no-deal Brexit, the union has written to the prime minister demanding public assurances that Whitehall staff will not be asked to break the law or the civil service code. In the letter obtained by the Guardian, Dave Penman, the FDA’s general secretary, wrote to Johnson saying the suggestion from No 10 that the government will ignore the settled will of parliament is causing increasing consternation in Whitehall.
A civil servants’ union has written to Boris Johnson seeking assurances Whitehall staff will not be asked to break the law during his manoeuvrings on Brexit. With Downing Street insisting the Government will not comply with an act designed to avoid a no-deal Brexit, the FDA has written to its members saying senior civil servants might be forced to break the the law and may be prosecuted if they help the Prime Minister defy the will of Parliament. The letter from FDA general secretary Dave Penman tells Mr Johnson of “increasing consternation” among civil servants. Mr Penman told Mr Johnson that Brexit had been a “lightning rod for attacks on the civil service”.
Boris Johnson has offered Tory rebels a way back into the party amid a growing split among Conservatives over his decision to kick them out. The Prime Minister instructed the Chief Whip to write to all MPs setting out the appeals process to restore the whip, which was described as a “ray of light” for the rebels by a senior party source. It comes amid growing signs Mr Johnson could be about to broker a Brexit deal over Northern Ireland for which he would need the maximum possible number of Tory MPs to get it through the Commons. Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, Michael Gove, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Sajid Javid, the Chancellor, have all urged the Prime Minister to offer an “olive branch” to some of the rebels.
Several Tory rebels who were expelled by Boris Johnson after voting for legislation that blocks a no-deal Brexit on October 31 have been invited to apply to rejoin the party. In a move that could pave the way for a climbdown, Mark Spencer, the chief whip, wrote to some of the 21 MPs, including Philip Hammond, the former chancellor, on Monday to make the offer. Mr Hammond continues to question the legality of the original decision, according to his allies. Mr Spencer warned the rebels that he had sole discretion about whether to allow an appeal against their expulsion. He also insisted that the original decision was justified to restore discipline.
BORIS JOHNSON has offered Tory rebels who had the whip removed a way back into the party due to growing opposition of the decision to throw them out. Prime Minister Johnson instructed Chief Whip Mark Spencer to write to the expelled MPs which include Cabinet members under Theresa May to inform them of the appeals process. There is speculation the decision has been triggered by a potential Northern Ireland Brexit deal for which Mr Johnson needs as many MPs as possible to force through the Commons. Chancellor Sajid Javid, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock have all called for Mr Johnson to offer an “olive branch” to some of the 21 MPs who sided against the Government.
More than 50 Labour MPs could be ready to rally behind a compromise Brexit agreement allowing Boris Johnson to avoid crashing out of the EU, according to a leading member of a cross-party group. It comes as DUP leader Arlene Foster demanded a meeting with Mr Johnson amid growing unionist fears that he will cut Northern Ireland loose in his desperation for a deal. Tory rebel Oliver Letwin, meanwhile, has backed a second Brexit referendum, while Jeremy Corbyn vowed Labour would fight a general election with the “biggest people-powered campaign we’ve ever seen”.
Up to 20 Labour MPs may be prepared to defy Jeremy Corbyn and support any revised Brexit deal that Boris Johnson is able to strike with the European Union, senior party figures believe. David Frost, the prime minister’s chief negotiator, returned to Brussels yesterday for talks with officials amid signs that the Democratic Unionist Party is shifting its position on post-Brexit provisions for Northern Ireland.
Jeremy Corbyn has hit back at his deputy, Tom Watson, as divisions in Labour over Brexit erupted in public once again. The Labour leader said he did not “accept” or “agree with” Mr Watson’s insistence that the party should prioritise a fresh Brexit referendum over a general election. He insisted that his party’s priority remained securing an election once the threat of a no-deal Brexit has been averted. In a speech on Wednesday, Mr Watson claimed Labour was wrong to focus on securing an election, saying a “general election should never be decided on a single issue”.
Labour should “unequivocally back Remain” in a fresh Brexit referendum and only then pursue power in a general election, its deputy has said. Tom Watson said there was “no such thing as a good Brexit deal” and the 2016 Leave vote had been “invalidated”. Jeremy Corbyn said he did “not accept or agree with” his deputy’s view. “Our priority is to get a general election in order to give the people a chance to elect a government that cares for them,” he said. The Labour leader wants to hold another referendum once Labour has won power, in which voters would have the choice to remain in the EU alongside a “credible” Leave proposal.
Amber Rudd is to use her first speech since leaving the government to call for cross-party efforts to consider proportional representation. In a speech to the Reform thinktank in London on Thursday evening, Rudd – who quit as work and pensions secretary and resigned the Conservative whip over Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans – will call for compromise on leaving the EU, warning that either no deal or revoking article 50 would risk public anger. The comments on electoral reform are more notable given they indicate a potential willingness among at least some senior Conservatives to consider replacing the current first-past-the-post system.
European Union officials and diplomats are “tearing their hair out” at the twists and turns of Labour’s “mad” Brexit policy and regret past tactical alliances with Remain campaigners. One Brussels source close to negotiations said the EU had “made mistakes” with Labour and was now horrified at the party’s convoluted position as political chaos in Westminster raises the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn taking the keys to Downing Street. “They want us to negotiate a ‘credible’ deal and then they will campaign against it in a referendum? That is mad. How can we negotiate with people like that?” an EU source said. “Their divisions and magical thinking are as bad as anything the Conservatives produced — perhaps worse.”
EU officials are alert to the possibility that they may be, in the words of one, being “led up the garden path” by Mr Johnson’s team for the sake of giving the Tory leader an advantage in a coming election. One theory getting a hearing in the Berlaymont is that Mr Johnson wants to keep talks frozen, with the possibility of both a deal and no deal open, because the ambiguity would suit him during an election campaign. Officials have suggested that they will toughen up their rhetoric in the coming weeks if there is still nothing concrete from the UK – and do more to publicly call out the limited nature of discussions. Depending on when an election is called, such an intervention from Brussels could, significantly, land just in time for the campaign period.
The EU commission has been accused of adopting “grotesque” and “fascist” rhetoric after it created a new “Commissioner for Protecting our European Way of Life” role to oversee immigration policy. Incoming president Ursula von der Leyen unveiled the new job along with the rest of her cabinet at a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday, explaining that it would cover migration issues. But critics said the new job’s Orwellian-sounding name suggested that immigrants were a threat to the European way of life. Ms Von der Leyen said the new Commission cabinet was “as diverse as Europe is” – though critics also pointed out that all of its members are white.
Britain has been urged to appoint a member of the EU’s top decision-making body – to prevent it falling into chaos while Brexit is delayed. Boris Johnson has refused to appoint a commissioner to the European Commission – the body which proposes laws and manages the day-to-day business of the EU. Number 10 insiders are reportedly plotting to throw the body into chaos if the UK remains a member of the EU beyond the October 31 deadline by refusing to send a representative. The new Commission takes office the following day. And it’s thought it would not be “legally constituted” without a Commissioner from every member state – which could paralyse the body’s decision making functions.
BORIS JOHNSON is tactically sidestepping Brexit negotiations with the European Commission by proposing so-called mini deals with EU27 capitals directly. The move has infuriated Commission officials, including Michel Barnier, who are worried the UK his making progress in their talks. One diplomat revealed at a meeting of Brexit EU27 officials last week almost “all delegations mentioned that they were being approached by the UK on several issues”. According to Politico, these issues included data protection, social security benefits and health entitlements of British citizens living in other parts of the EU. Head of foreign trade at the German Chamber of Commerce Volker Treier said: “I see it as a clear attempt by the British side to go to countries and give them something they care about, such as citizen rights, to create goodwill and also weaken the EU’s common line that London must ratify the withdrawal agreement before negotiations about future relations and trade can begin.”
NORTHERN IRELAND could be edging towards Irish reunification after a new poll revealed over half of the region’s voters would back leaving the UK. Lord Ashcroft’s polls found if a border vote was held in Northern Ireland tomorrow, 45 percent of voters would vote to stay in the UK compared to 46 percent who would choose to leave and join the Republic of Ireland. This rose to 51 percent to 49 percent for unification when the don’t knows and those who responded saying they would not vote are excluded. Lord Ashcroft, the former deputy chairman of the Tory party, suggested the result may reflect the “uncertainty and anxiety surrounding Brexit”.
Boris Johnson has pledged to ‘bring shipbuilding home’ by announcing that five new Royal Navy warships will be made in Britain. He will declare today which company has won a £1.3billion contract to build Type 31 frigates. The announcement is part of a pledge to regenerate shipbuilding and to strengthen the Royal Navy. The programme is expected to support more than 2,500 jobs across the UK, with different elements of the frigates being assembled and built at British shipyards. At least 150 of these jobs will be for new technical apprenticeships. The ships will be built exclusively in the UK, the Government stressed.
Teachers are being given more training to make them tougher with disruptive pupils amid evidence some are too soft. The way trainee teachers are taught to deal with misbehaviour will become a focus of education watchdog Ofsted’s new inspection framework from next year. This means universities which run teaching courses will have to place a far greater emphasis on the best ways to minimise bad behaviour in the classroom. Ofsted said the shake-up will ‘make sure the next generation of teachers know the principles of behaviour management…and how to create an environment that focuses on learning’.
NHS chiefs shelled out nearly £5million to patients for bungled operations last year, including lopping off the wrong limbs. There were 49 cases settled where doctors operated on the wrong part of the body, resulting in compo payments of £2.2million. Other successful compensation claims included pieces of surgical equipment being accidentally left inside the patients. The NHS says these are called “Never Events” because they should never be allowed to happen. But the compensation bill for horrific bungles now stands at £23million over the last five years.
Patients in Britain are less likely to survive common cancers than those in other high-income countries, a study has shown. Out of seven cancers the UK was ranked lowest for five: lung, colon, stomach, pancreas and rectal. Cancer Research UK, which managed the study, said the government must bring in more NHS staff to ensure that cancers were not diagnosed late, which affects survival chances. The study, which is published today in The Lancet Oncology, looked at 3.9 million cases in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and Britain. It found that one-year and five-year survival rates had improved in the UK for all seven cancers — also including oesophageal and ovarian — from 1995 to 2014.
BRITAIN’S cancer survival rates are worse than those in other high-income countries, a report claims. The UK is bottom of the table when it comes to several types of the disease. Australia, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand and Norway have better five-year survival rates overall for lung, stomach, rectal, lung, colon and pancreas cancers. It means fewer British patients are alive five years after being diagnosed. The figures were compiled by the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership, which looked at 3.9 million cases from 1995 to 2014. But the NHS blasted the report, published in Lancet Oncology.