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Leaked Docs: UK Faces Vast Shortages in No-Deal Brexit

Ports could be clogged for months
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2019 8:21 AM CDT
Anti-Brexit protesters demonstrate outside the Cabinet Office in Whitehall in London on Thursday.   (AP Photo/ Vudi Xhymshiti)

(Newser) – The repercussions of leaving the European Union without a deal could be catastrophic, with Britain expecting food, fuel, and medicine shortages, government documents leaked to the Sunday Times show. The forecasts predict chaotic scenes, with new checks in place at a hard border in Ireland and ports clogged for up to three months by trucks unprepared for French customs. The prime minister's office did not comment on the leaks Sunday, but Boris Johnson has said the nation will leave the EU on Oct. 31 without a deal unless terms of the separation are renegotiated. Asked about the documents by Sky News, Britain's energy minister said, per Reuters: “I think there’s a lot of scaremongering around," but added, "We’ve got to prepare for no deal. We will be fully prepared to leave without a deal on the 31st of October."

Even Britain's supply of drinking water could be threatened. Shortages of needed chemicals could hamper its supply for hundreds of thousands of people in certain areas, per Politico Europe. At first, the flow of goods through French ports could be around half what it is now, the documents say. Even at three months, that might rise only to about 70%, the forecasts say, "although disruption could continue much longer." At the border in Ireland, protests could follow job losses and shortages. A senior official told the Times that the forecasts "are likely, basic, reasonable scenarios—not the worst case." More than 100 lawmakers have called on Johnson to bring back Parliament to deal with the situation, and Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn has threatened to bring down the government next month to postpone Brexit. It's not clear, however, that any move in Parliament could block a no-deal exit. (Read more Brexit stories.)

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