Downing Street hid 'worst case scenario' Brexit plans from devolved administrations, leaked documents show

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford during a joint press conference at Bishop Partridge Hall, Westminster.

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon and Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford during a joint press conference at Bishop Partridge Hall, Westminster. - Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Archive/PA Images

Devolved administrations in Wales and Scotland are furious after leaked documents showed the government had withheld important Brexit documents from them.

The documents, which show a deliberate attempts by Westminster to hide plans to break with Withdrawal Agreement, were leaked by Guido.

In a dossier named "Transition period planning assumptions (central case)", ministers were warned against sharing information from the report with devolved administrations.

The document, written and circulated in June, outlines plans on subsidy control which now appear in the internal market bill and states No 10's plans to "revoke unnecessary EU law through a statutory instrument".

Classified as "official - sensitive", the document warned the instruments would "switch off" sections of the Withdrawal Agreement signed by London and Brussels in 2019. 

Cabinet minister were briefed on the UK government assuming control of state aid throughout the country and that such information "should not be shared publicly or with the devolved administrations at this stage."


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Another document outlined a "reasonable worst case scenario" for food supply as a result of a no-deal Brexit.

It warned of a "a tightening of supply and an increase in demand for certain agri-food products, but not cause an overall food shortage. The effect of this disruption is likely to be reduced supply availability, especially of certain fresh products".

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It added that "food is a devolved policy area. We have not shared this assumption with DAs (devolved administrations) as per handling instructions, but it will have an impacts on DAs and their planning."

The SNP slammed No 10's decision to initially hide the dossiers. 

It said: "These leaked documents prove the Tory government deliberately hid crucial information about its extreme Brexit plans – including the likelihood of food shortages – from the devolved nations, as well as details about the Tory power grab on the Scottish parliament.

"It demonstrates, yet again, that the Tories cannot be trusted to act in Scotland’s interests – or even tell the truth. We already knew they were willing to break international law, and this shows they have attempted to disguise their plans to impose an extreme Brexit against Scotland’s will."

A government spokesperson told Guido: "We frequently engage with the Devolved Administrations on contingency planning for the end of the transition period.

The Scottish government, Northern Ireland executive and Welsh government attended an Exit Operations [XO] cabinet committee on contingency planning earlier today where food supply was discussed.

"We have shared all relevant planning assumptions with them, including the Reasonable Worst Case Scenario document on food supplies."

Government sources told media outlet that subsidy control was a reserved matter and the responsibility of the UK parliament to determine and that it was crucial to have a UK-wide approach to subsidies to protect the internal market.

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