For several years now, Brexit has been taking a toll on the economies of Britain and the greater Eurozone. It has also led to the resignation of two British Prime Ministers already showing the intensity of the matter. However, the latest reports paint a grim picture for any UK resident as there seems to be no appropriate end of this ‘divorce’ in sight.
According to leaked British government documents, there are warnings of a major impact of a no-deal Brexit scenario. This is the worst-case scenario as described by the minister overseeing coordination preparations for exiting the EU without any deal, Michael Gove. The official leaked documents describe a project titled ‘Yellowhammer.’
That project reveals that Britain will face major shortages of food, fuel, and medicine if the exit from the European Union comes with no transition deal. That will also jam the ports and need the government to set up a hard border in Ireland. Gove went to Twitter stating:
“Yellowhammer is a worst-case scenario – v significant steps have been taken in the last 3 weeks to accelerate Brexit planning.”
All forecasts compiled by the Cabinet Office revealed the most probable aftershocks of a no-deal Brexit as opposed to the worst-case scenarios. Almost 85% of trucks driving through the main channel crossings may not be ready for French customs. Therefore, major disruptions at ports may potentially last for three months before the situation recovers. All that is contained in the leaked document.
The file also shows that a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland is necessary. Ireland chose to remain in the European Union. Britain’s current plans to avoid widespread checks may eventually prove unsustainable. According to the newspaper report:
“Compiled this month by the Cabinet Office under the code name Operation Yellowhammer, the dossier offers a rare glimpse into the covert planning being carried out by the government to avert a catastrophic collapse in the nation’s infrastructure.”
The leaked file has an ‘official sensitive’ mark which needs security clearance on a ‘need to know’ basis. It is quite interesting since it offers the most exhaustive assessment of the United Kingdom’s readiness for a no-deal Brexit.
We don’t normally comment on leaks – but a few facts – Yellowhammer is a worst case scenario – v significant steps have been taken in the last 3 weeks to accelerate Brexit planning – and Black Swan is not an HMG doc but a film about a ballet dancer… https://t.co/lRAgavfDze
— Michael Gove (@michaelgove) August 18, 2019
The Prime Minister’s office told reporters that it had no comment on the leaked documents. However, on August 18, Michael Gove tweeted that these documents only reflected “a worst-case scenario.” The government is striving relentlessly to accelerate its planning as it is evident from the activities of the past three weeks.
Michael Gove mocked an allegation by one reporter who had said that a more severe scenario was discussed secretly under the ‘Black Swan’ code name. He said that name was not a government document title but just a title of a film about a ballet dancer. Kwasi Kwarteng, a junior energy minister, also played down the he report. He said:
“I think there’s a lot of scaremongering around and a lot of people are playing into ‘Project Fear. We’ve got to prepare for no deal. We will be fully prepared to leave without a deal on Oct. 31.”
— Sophy Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) August 18, 2019
Pushback also came from Gibraltar which was described in the report as probable to encounter economic damage from many months of severe delays at its land border if a no-deal Brexit happens. According to an August 18 statement, the territory’s government called the leaked report ‘out of date’ and:
“based on planning for worst-case scenarios which the government of Gibraltar has already dealt with.”
The plans it referred to are related to the flow of vehicles, people, and goods across the frontier especially medicines, foodstuffs, and waste. Gibraltar’s chief minister, Fabian Picardo, commented:
“We do not want a no-deal Brexit. And think it is bad for Gibraltar. We are, nonetheless, now ready for it.”
Analysts and commentators think that Britain is heading into a constitutional crisis locally. Additionally, a showdown in Brussels looms as the British Prime minister repeatedly vows to leave the EU by October 31 with no deal unless it agrees to renegotiate the Brexit breakup.
The European Union Factor
This week, Boris Johnson will go for his first official foreign trip to Europe as prime minister to meet France’s President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel to state his case. Mr.Johnson wants to tell Ms. Merkel and Mr. Macron that Westminster will not stop Brexit. Also, he will inform the EU leaders that a new deal must be discussed and agreed if Britain must avoid leaving without a deal.
After Brexit dominating EU affairs for over 3 years, negotiators are hesitant to reopen the withdrawal agreement. The agreement features an Irish border insurance policy that former British prime minister, Theresa May, agreed to in November.
Stephen Barclay, Britain’s Brexit Secretary, tweeted on Sunday that he already signed the legislation permanently to repeal the 1972 European Communities act. Those laws made Britain a member of the organization now called the European Union. Even though Mr. Barclay’s move was largely procedural, he said:
“This is a clear signal to the people of this country that there is no turning back.”
I have signed the legislation setting in stone the repeal of the European Communities Act 1972. This is a landmark moment in taking back control of our law. It underlines that we are leaving the EU on October 31. pic.twitter.com/r52UY60aG2
— Steve Barclay (@SteveBarclay) August 18, 2019
More that 100 lawmakers have officially written to the Prime Minister asking for an emergency recall of Parliament to discuss the situation. The lawmakers’ letter said:
“We face a national emergency, and Parliament must now be recalled in August and sit permanently until Oct. 31 so that the voices of the people can be heard, and that there can be proper scrutiny of your government.”
The Prime Minister is constantly coming under increasing pressure from politicians across the whole political spectrum. They all want Johnson to prevent a disorderly departure. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, vowed to bring down Mr. Johnson’s government in early September aiming to delay Brexit.
Nonetheless, it is still unclear if the lawmakers have the power or unity to use Parliament to avoid a no-deal departure. Brexit is growing to become the most significant move for Britain since the Second World War.
The no-deal opponents believe that it would spell disaster for what was once known as the West’s most stable democracies. A disorderly break up may hurt global growth which will send major shock waves all through the financial markets. In turn, it will weaken London’s claim to lead as the world’s pre-eminent financial center.
The supporters think that there may be short-lived disruption from a no-deal exit. However, they expect the economy to thrive if cut free from the integration that has made Europe fall far behind the United States and China.