Brexit: UK at greater risk of terrorism and organised crime if it leaves EU with no deal, government admits

Attempts to reach new security agreements with EU 'cannot fully compensate', document concedes - resulting in 'loss of capability'

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Tuesday 08 October 2019 14:14
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What do the 'Operation Yellowhammer' documents tell us?

Britain will be at greater risk from terrorism and organised crime if it crashes out of the EU without a deal, a government document has admitted.

Attempts to reach new security agreements with EU members – to replace the European Arrest Warrant and the Schengen Information System database of suspects – “cannot fully compensate”, it concedes.

The admission comes just weeks after James Cleverly, the Conservative party chairman, insisted security co-operation would continue seamlessly, even after a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

In contrast, the ‘No-Deal Readiness Report, published by Michael Gove, states that a crash-out “would result in some mutual loss of capability for the UK and EU member states”.

The UK would be forced to aim for “maximising our use of Interpol” and to use “bilateral channels and other multilateral mechanisms outside EU structures”.

The document insists they are “largely tried and tested mechanisms” already used with the likes of Norway and Switzerland – while admitting they are inferior.

The 155-page – which follows the leak of the Operation Yellowhammer warnings of food, fuel and medicine shortages – also states:

* The UK is still “seeking arrangements” for involvement in Europol after a no-deal Brexit and to continue sharing passenger data.

* There “may be reduced availability and choice” of some food products – although “there would be no overall shortage”.

* The EU is refusing to grant the UK an immediate “adequacy decision” to allow the free flow of data – which will force companies and other organisations to try to make their own arrangements.

* UK ferry companies will be required to provide extensive data in order to continue operating, such as “last 10 ports visited, special or additional security measures taken by the ship, crew list and passenger list”.

* It will take “up to five days” for adult social care providers to import products from the EU.

* Emergency supplies of chemicals may have to be imported to “purify the water supply”, if the industry’s contingency plans are insufficient.

* The biggest suppliers of insulin, life-saving treatment for diabetics, have capacity to stockpile 18 weeks’ worth of supplies.

* A total of 15,000 civil servants have been pulled off working on other projects to prepare for Brexit.

The British Chambers of Commerce warned its fears of a no-dal Brexit were still “rising”, as a bitter briefing war broke out between London and EU capitals.

“It’s good that government has got its shoulder to the wheel, but it’s going to have to push a lot harder to give businesses answers to the many complex and detailed questions they have in order to trade successfully in the event of an unwanted no-deal exit,” said Dr Adam Marshall, its director general.

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