Former PM says government ‘still not telling the truth’ about no-deal Brexit

Former prime minister Gordon Brown. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA.

Former prime minister Gordon Brown. Photograph: Jane Barlow/PA. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Former prime minister Gordon Brown has claimed that the government is 'still not telling the truth' about the impact of a no-deal Brexit.

Brown has argued that the Operation Yellowhammer report looking at no-deal scenarios still concealed the full truth.

He has written to the prime minister accusing him of "dishonest claims" that underestimate the risks posed if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Speaking at a Hope Not Hate event in Edinburgh, Brown said: "The truth is that we are not taking back control but losing control - of medical supplies and food and energy prices.

"The worst-case scenario document downplays the risks to medical supplies, the threat to household budgets and the damage inflicted on the most vulnerable.

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"We now know from Yellowhammer that no-deal Brexit is an unnecessary act of self-harm but ministers are still not telling the truth about the sheer scale of the self-inflicted wounds."

In his speech, the former Labour leader said the various risks to medical supplies, as well the sharp food and fuel price rises will "wreak havoc" with family budgets and hit the poorest hardest.

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The Operation Yellowhammer report was finally released on Wednesday night after the UK government was defeated in the House of Commons and forced to release a summary of the documents, albeit a heavily redacted version.

Describing the situation as "unprecedented", Brown adds: "Given the information we now have, the prime minister must do far more than meet his guarantee that medical supplies will be available for everyone for life-saving treatments.

"Nor can he guarantee that our food supplies - 30% of which come from mainland Europe - can come in uninterrupted without, as the cabinet secretary fears, pushing food prices up by 10%."

Ian Murray MP, also speaking at the event in Edinburgh, said: "The government's own Yellowhammer document shows how devastating a no-deal Brexit will be. Boris Johnson is determined to deliver that, so we must do all we can to prevent a no-deal and get any deal parliament agrees back to the people for a final say referendum."

Michael Gove, the cabinet minister with responsibility for no-deal planning, claimed the government had taken "considerable steps" to prepare for a safe departure if Johnson failed to get a deal and took the UK out of the EU.

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