British lawmakers release documents that warn of Brexit consequences

As one of its last acts before it was suspended, British Parliament voted to order the release of documents that detail what could happen if the nation departs the European Union next month without an agreement.

An anti-Brexit demonstrator holds a sign outside the Houses of Parliament in London. File Photo by Hugo Philpott

The documents, called Operation Yellowhammer, warn that Britain could revert to “third country” status with no bilateral deals with any nations. Lawmakers authorized the release of documents before their session ended Monday night, and they were made public Thursday.
Britain is set to leave the EU on Oct. 31 and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to complete the exit — approved by voters in 2016 — with or without an EU-sanctioned agreement.

Under a no-deal scenario, the documents say, Britain could see a decrease in certain types of foods and key ingredients, an increase in food and fuel prices and delays in imports of medicine and medical supplies. The lack of a border agreement with France could also mean long waits for deliveries crossing the English Channel and increased electricity prices.

“Fresh food availability will decrease, consumer choice will decrease and prices will rise,” Helen Dickinson of the British Retail Consortium said.


The documents also said low-income groups will be disproportionately affected, and worst-case scenarios would be “exacerbated” by flooding or flu pandemics this winter.

The documents also warn of a clashes with fishing boats from EU countries that are now able to enter British waters, but won’t be after the exit.

No-deal exit planner Michael Grove answered that the warnings in the documents date to early August and considerable planning has been made since then. He said he will publish “revised assumptions” and a document outlining government mitigation efforts.


Before going into recess, lawmakers also demanded access to private text messages concerning Johnson’s suspension request to Queen Elizabeth II. That request was refused as “inappropriate.”

ByNicholas Sakelaris