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Downing Street urged to publish UK's Brexit 'doomsday' scenarios for no-deal

By Adrian Rutherford

The government has been urged to publish any papers that outline potential 'doomsday' consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

A leaked Whitehall assessment, reportedly setting out the impact of failing to reach an agreement with the EU, was published yesterday by the Sunday Times.

Ministers quickly moved to dismiss reports that civil servants have been drawing up scenarios that would leave the UK short of medicine, fuel and food.

Sinn Fein MP Chris Hazzard called on the government to outline its plans to resolve the border issue.

But Home Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "I have to say I don't recognise any bit of that at all and as Home Secretary .. I am deeply involved in 'no deal preparations' as much as I am in getting a deal - I'm confident we will get a deal.

"From the work that I have seen and the analysis that has been done, those outcomes ... I don't think any of them would come to pass."

Mr Javid said the government was making progress with Brexit plans, saying: "I'm confident that as we get to the June council meeting, the Prime Minister will have a good set of proposals and our colleagues in Europe will respond positively."

Last month, officials from the Brexit, health and transport departments 'gamed' three scenarios for a no-deal Brexit, according to the Sunday Times.

They considered a 'mild' outcome, a 'severe' shock, and one dubbed 'Armageddon'.

A source said: "In the second scenario, not even the worst, the port of Dover will collapse on day one.

"The supermarkets in Cornwall and Scotland will run out of food within a couple of days, and hospitals will run out of medicines within two weeks."

The assessment suggested that charter aircraft or the RAF would have to be used to ferry supplies around the country.

"You would have to medevac medicine into Britain, and at the end of week two we would be running out of petrol as well," a source said.

Brexiteers attacked the assessment, with Tory former leader Iain Duncan Smith branding it the new Project Fear.

Fellow Conservative MP Conor Burns, who is from Belfast, said: "Do the authors of these reports realise how supine and pathetic they make our country look to the rest of the world?

"The group-think of the last 45 years makes too many incapable of seeing that the EU is not the cause of all good."

Mr Hazzard, the MP for South Down, said any documents relating to a no-deal Brexit must be made public.

"The British Government must allow full public scrutiny of these papers. It is totally unacceptable that they continue to drive us towards the cliff-edge knowing the cataclysmic effects of a no deal exit from Europe," he said.

"We already know from previous scenario planning exercises that the north of Ireland will be worse hit in any Brexit scenario.

"Bearing in mind today's revelations, it is absolutely imperative that the British Government also now publish legal texts on their plans to deal with Ireland."

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