No-deal Brexit: Britons face wide-ranging travel chaos, latest government advice papers reveal

Driving licences may no longer be valid in the EU – while trains and planes could be barred

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Thursday 13 September 2018 22:35 BST
What does a no-deal Brexit mean?

Britons have been confronted with the prospect of transport chaos by road, rail and air after a no-deal Brexit, with the release of the latest government advice papers.

Ministers admitted that driving licences may no longer be valid in the EU if Britain crashes out without an agreement – forcing drivers to obtain permits for the countries they visit.

Meanwhile, No 10 did not deny a warning by France’s Europe minister that Eurostar trains would be turned back from the continent, as well as British planes.

The no-deal documents also revealed that vehicles made and approved in the UK would no longer be “valid for sale” in the EU after a no-deal Brexit, threatening the vital car industry.

They were issued just two days after the boss of Jaguar Land Rover attacked Theresa May’s Brexit strategy, warning that tens of thousands of jobs were being put at risk.

The publication of 28 “technical notices” triggered fresh criticism from the Confederation of British Industry that firms would be “hit with a sledgehammer in the event of no deal”.

The AA leapt on the implications for holidaymakers, who would need to obtain two separate permits to drive to some countries, including France and Spain.

“This will be an extra burden for UK drivers wanting to take a holiday abroad,” said Edmund King, the AA’s president.

The advice papers, published by the Brexit Department, also warned that:

* British passport holders will not be allowed into the EU’s Schengen area if they have under six months left on their passport.
* The EU-wide ban on roaming charges would disappear – although the government said it would cap fees at £45 a month.
* Operators of ferries and cargo ships may have to supply EU ports with details of their last 10 ports of call, crew list, and full passenger list.
* Civil legal cases are at risk because “certain countries may not recognise judgments from UK courts”.
* The UK would potentially get less warning about plummeting space debris, after departure from the EU’s tracking programme.

Keir Starmer, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, said: “The only reason the government is talking about no deal is because the Tory civil war on Europe prevents the prime minister from negotiating a good deal.

“With the clock ticking, ministers should drop the irresponsible rhetoric and start putting jobs and the economy first.”

The threat to the Eurostar was revealed by Nathalie Loiseau, France’s minister for European affairs, who said it was “correct” that both trains and planes from the UK would be barred.

“If we reach no agreement this is what will happen, among other things,” she told an event in London.

The warning came one week after a secret Treasury document acknowledged there were questions about “rail access to the EU” if there is a no-deal Brexit.

But No 10 refused to discuss what was meant by the reference on the “Operation Yellowhammer” document, photographed as a minister carried it into a Whitehall meeting.

The government has previously acknowledged that planes would be grounded without a post-Brexit agreement, while insisting the prospect was remote.

Asked about the risk to Eurostar services, the prime minister’s spokesman said: “It’s in everybody’s interest that that should not happen.”

Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, speaking after a three-hour cabinet meeting, said: “We have agreed all of that plan of action with unanimity.

“I think we need to be honest about this. In the event of a no-deal scenario, which is not what we want, we would face short-term risks and short-term disruption.”

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