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‘No food and no Channel tunnel’: Treasury minister’s document revealed in photograph after Brexit meeting

Extraordinary picture prompts speculation that Mel Stride was joking – but The Independent understands it is genuine

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Monday 14 January 2019 17:34 GMT
Countdown to Brexit: How many days left until Britain leaves the EU?

A Treasury minister discussed the possible threat of “no food” if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal, his briefing note reveals.

Mel Stride was pictured walking out of a meeting with his officials showing they also discussed the issue of “no Channel tunnel” after a no-deal Brexit.

The picture prompted speculation that the financial secretary had allowed the note to be captured as a joke, but The Independent understands it is genuine.

Jo Stevens, a Labour supporters of the anti-Brexit Best for Britain group said it was “shameful” that Theresa May had failed to rule out a no-deal departure.

It is the latest in a series of gaffes which have seen ministers’ confidential briefing notes photographed – and the second to raise the threat to rail links to the EU.

A government source confirmed that both food restrictions and the risk to road and rail links to the continent were discussed with Treasury officials, both at Mr Stride’s instigation.

The government has urged suppliers to stockpile food in the event of the prime minister’s Brexit deal being rejected. Civil servants have also warned that some products may not be available.

Meanwhile, the French government has warned that Eurostar trains would be turned back from Europe if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal.

Mel Stride holds his notes which highlight ‘no food’ and ‘no channel tunnel’ (Steve Back)

The Treasury refused to comment on why the two stark warnings were scrawled on the paper Mr Stride carried out of the meeting with his officials.

Ms Stevens added: “The government clearly know the harm a no-deal Brexit would cause, so it’s shameful they’re still using the no deal threat to scare MPs into backing the prime minister’s bad deal.

“She’s basically trying to hold the people of this country to ransom in order to stay in power.

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