Brexit: No-deal would lead to immediate food and medicine shortages, government 'doomsday' study claims

'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,' a source said

Oliver Wheaton
Tuesday 24 July 2018 16:16 BST
What could the sticking points be in the Brexit trade deal?

Britain could be hit with food and medicine shortages within two weeks of leaving the European Union if a Brexit deal isn't reached, a new government study has claimed.

A 'doomsday' scenario for a no-deal Brexit has been drawn up which paints a terrifying picture of what Britain could be forced to endure when the country leaves the EU.

Senior civil servants have speculated on three different scenarios for possible Brexit outcomes – one mild, one severe and one they have called 'Armageddon'.

A source told The Sunday Times: "In the second worst 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 source added that the RAF would have to be used to transport emergency medicine to the far corners of the UK and warned that the country would also quickly run out of petrol.

A spokesperson for David Davis' Brexit department said such discussions had taken place, but denied that the doomsday scenario would occur.

They said: "A significant amount of work and decision-making has gone into our no-deal plans, especially where it relates to ports, and we know that none of this would come to pass".

Concerns are still being raised at the possibility of a no-deal Brexit meaning the UK will trade on World Trade Organisation terms, with critics suggesting wealthy EU countries will not want to trade with Britain in this manner.

One senior official described the potential catastrophe of Britain being unable to trade with Europe in no uncertain terms.

"We are entirely dependent on Europe reciprocating our posture that we will do nothing to impede the flow of goods into the UK. If, for whatever reason, Europe decides to slow that supply down then we're screwed," the official said.

However home secretary Sajid Javid said he didn't recognise the "doomsday" scenarios.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, he said: "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."

He added that 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."

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