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Government releases six-page summary of Operation Yellowhammer documentation

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

The government has published a summary of its Operation Yellowhammer documents in the event of a no-deal Brexit following a vote from MPs demanding they are released to the public.

The six-page documentation makes the claim that it is the “reasonable worst case planning assumptions” and features 20 points. There is one which is partially redacted.

The summary appears almost identical to the document leaked to the Sunday Times last month. But Rosamund Urwin, the journalist who published the report, claimed that the heading had changed from “base scenario” to “reasonable worst case planning assumptions”.

The documents claim that no-deal Brexit could trigger major hold-ups at channel ports, electricity price increases, shortages of some foods and delays to medicine imports.

HGV delays of between one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half days would occur at Dover and public disorder could increase.

The document says: “There are likely to be significant electricity (price) increases for consumers.”

It adds: “Protests and counter-protests will take place across the UK and may absorb significant amounts of police resource.

“There may also be a rise in public disorder and community tensions.”

The document warns: “Low-income groups will be disproportionately affected by any price rises in food and fuel.”

The assumptions are “as of August 2” this year, and it notes that day one after the scheduled EU exit on October 31 is a Friday, “which may not be to our advantage” and may coincide with the end of the October half-term school holidays.

The government dossier says France will impose EU mandatory controls on UK goods “on day 1 no deal” – D1ND as the document refers to it – and have built infrastructure and IT systems to manage and process customs declarations and support a risk-based control regime.

It continues: “On D1ND, between 50-85% of HGVs travelling via the short Channel Straits may not be ready for French customs.

“The lack of trader readiness combined with limited space in French ports to hold ‘unready’ HGVs could reduce the flow rate to 40-60% of current levels within one day as unready HGVs will fill the ports and block flow.

“The worst disruption to the short Channel Straits might last for up to 3 months before it improves by a significant level to around 50-70% (due to more traders getting prepared), although there could continue to be some disruption for significantly longer.

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“Disruption to flow across the short Channel Straits would also cause significant queues in Kent and delays to HGVs attempting to use the routes to travel to France.

“In a reasonable worst-case scenario, HGVs could face maximum delays of 1.5-2.5 days before being able to cross the border.”

The document says UK citizens travelling to and from the EU “may be subject to increased immigration checks at EU border posts”.

It adds: “This may lead to passenger delays at St Pancras, Cheriton (Channel Tunnel) and Dover where juxtaposed controls are in place.

“Dependent on the plans EU member states put in place to cope with these increased immigration checks, it is likely that delays will occur for UK arrivals and departures at EU airports and ports.

“This could cause some disruption on transport services. Travellers may decide to use alternative routes to complete their journey.”

On food, it warns that some fresh supplies will decrease and that “critical dependencies for the food chain” such as key ingredients “may be in shorter supply”.

It says these factors would not lead to overall food shortages “but will reduce the availability and choice of products and will increase price, which could impact vulnerable groups”.

The risk to water supplies is low, it says, with water companies “well prepared for any disruption”.

The document, which is a summary, follows Andrea Leadsom warning on breakfast television the full documentation would not be released because it would “concern people”.

Keir Starmer MP, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, said that it is completely irresponsible for the government to have tried to ignore these stark warnings and prevent the public from seeing the evidence.”

“Boris Johnson must now admit that he has been dishonest with the British people about the consequence of a No Deal Brexit. It is also now more important than ever that Parliament is recalled and has the opportunity to scrutinise these documents and take all steps necessary to stop No Deal.”

Best for Britain supporter Guto Bebb MP said: “Trust should always be at the heart of what government does, whether we agree or disagree with their policy agenda.

“It is now entirely clear that there is no trust in this government and no trust in this prime minister. The country, its parliament and the Monarch simply cannot believe anything that now comes out of Downing Street.

“It’s odds-on that Boris Johnson will be a very short-lived prime minister, proving he was never, in fact, fit to hold high office.”

Liberal Democrat Shadow Brexit Secretary Tom Brake MP said: “Given what we now know from these explosive papers, it is frankly appalling that Boris Johnson and his cabal of advisers remain so willing to risk people’s lives and livelihoods.

“Never has a government been so irresponsible. People deserve better, and the Liberal Democrats demand better.

“These documents are just the tip of the iceberg. If Mr Johnson hadn’t shut down parliament, MPs would have been grilling him on what he hasn’t told us.

“We don’t just need parliament to return. We need to finally give the people the opportunity to stop Brexit altogether.”

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