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”.
Business secretary Andrea Leadsom has been asked about the prospect of a compromise deal that could see a common agriculture zone across Ireland – the so-called Northern Ireland-only backstop.
“Well we will not do anything that undermines the UK or indeed UK internal market,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“So we are looking at getting a deal, getting a good deal that works for the UK and for the EU that is different to the one that was negotiated previously because that couldn’t get through parliament.
“So our absolute focus is on getting a good deal on October 17th when the EU Council meets and so we’re looking at creative ways to ensure that there won’t need to be a backstop in that Withdrawal Agreement.”
German chancellor Angela Merkel has said there was still “every chance” for a Brexit deal, although Berlin is ready if it doesn’t happen.
“We still have every chance of getting an orderly (Brexit) and the German government will do everything it can to make that possible - right up to the last day. But I also say we are prepared for a disorderly Brexit,” Merkel told the German parliament.
“But the fact remains that after the withdrawal of Britain, we have an economic competitor at our door, even if we want to keep close economic, foreign and security cooperation and friendly relations,” Merkel added.
Labour MP Owen Smith – the former leadership candidate – has said the party “should be clear that Labour doesn’t believe Brexit is a good thing”.
Asked about the argument for which Tom Watson was making the case, Smith told the Today programme:
“An argument in principle that there is no such thing as a good Brexit deal, that all versions of Brexit are going to leave Britain poorer and more isolated in the world, and that’s why there is no good reason why Labour should be supporting that.
“It’s at odds with our values, it’s at odds with the electoral interests of the Labour Party and it’s at odds with the prospects for a better future for our constituents.
“So we should be opposed to it and we should be clear that Labour doesn’t believe Brexit is a good thing and critically we shouldn’t be bamboozled or bullied by Boris Johnson into going into an election on his terms.”
This morning’s ComRes poll showing a one-point lead for the Tories over Labour follows a Deltapoll survey which also suggested the gap between the big two parties is narrowing.
It found Jeremy Corbyn’s party gaining four points, and only three points behind Boris Johnson’s Conservatives. A separate ComRes poll found Labour would be ahead of the Tories – if an election is held after extending the Brexit deadline beyond 31 October.
Nigel Farage’s repeated calls for an electoral pact with the Tories hasn’t been getting too much media attention. So the Brexit Party has bought a wraparound advert on the front page of The Daily Express, and a full page ad in The Sun.
Labour MP Gareth Snell has claimed the numbers “simply do not exist in parliament for a referendum”, adding the public had “no appetite” for a second EU poll.
He is one of those in favour of voting for an amended version of Theresa May’s deal.
“The Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which is a very different thing – that was the outcome of the cross-party negotiations – ought to be presented to parliament as a basis on which trying to find a deal.”
The BBC’s Norman Smith suggests not everyone is clear what the official party line is. For the sake of clarity, Jeremy Corbyn has said he wants a second referendum, but wants credible options for both remain and leave on the ballot.
What do you think of the idea of a bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland?
According to Channel 4 News, the civil service drew up feasibility studies examining an ambitious bridge over the Irish Sea during the Tory leadership contest because frontrunner Boris Johnson had express an interest.
Apparently Johnson asked officials if “WW2 munitions in the Irish Sea” could scupper his hopes of getting a bridge.
Labour frontbencher Angela Rayner is not impressed.
Shadow Brexit secretary Keir Starmer was told about that sensational court ruling while on stage speaking to the TUC.
The Labour MP said: “I’d better get back to London.”
“This is really important ... I’m really pleased with this result. I’m surprised because for a court to make a declaration like that on and issue like this is a huge thing for us.
“It vindicates everything we’ve done last week and I think what I can do and what others need to do is get back to parliament, see if we can’t open those doors and get back in and get Boris Johnson back in parliament so we can hold him properly to account.”