Iain Duncan Smith breaks Privy Council code to make surprising Yellowhammer revelation

Iain Duncan Smith breaks Privy Council code to make surprising Yellowhammer revelation

Boris Johnson was ordered to published the no deal Brexit Yellowhammer documents after losing a crunch vote in the Commons earlier this week. Iain Duncan Smith has lashed out at the documents, claiming the UK Government didn’t “at any stage” talk to European authorities while writing the papers. The former Work and Pensions Secretary told LBC: “It is five pages long, okay. People think this is some kind of incredible, worthy document, it’s not. What it is was a bunch of officials told ‘go and have a look at what you think could be reasonably the worst-case scenario’.

“So in paragraph three for example, they come up with the idea that you won’t get through Calais because Calais could decide that they have to stop everybody who’s papers aren’t absolutely right and they’ve got no room in Calais.

“I actually listened to an early briefing of this under Privy Council terms which I will now breach, and tell you that as we sat and listened to this some few months ago as they were preparing it, I asked them a simple question.

“I said ‘did you at any stage in the course of that area, talk to the Calais authorities about what they were doing?’ There was a shuffling of feet and then complete silence. I said, ‘you didn’t, did you?’ and they said ‘we weren’t asked to.’

“I said ‘don’t be so damn stupid’, in Calais the Head of Calais ports and the Pas De Nord had said they’re already building an inspection point 40km away from Calais.

“If they have any issues with any of them they ship them to there, there will be no stoppage. They will not, and they said, stress, ‘no matter what arrangements are made they will not stop trucks more than they do at the moment if they don’t have the right paperwork.’”

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The former Tory leader continued: “Flow is everything to them and they’ve guaranteed that. If they’d asked them that, paragraph three would’ve gone, medicine shortage threats would have gone.

“All the issues about food and fresh food would have gone, and this is the point about Yellowhammer. It was a deliberate attempt to try and again make it sound like this is a reasonable case.

“It is not reasonable to make an assumption about things that might happen without talking to the other side, to figure out what will happen.”

Mr Duncan Smith added: “There is no question in my mind, when it was asked for, they gave it very strict instructions: do not go and talk to anyone else, make this on your own basis, of what you think might go wrong.

“This to me looks very much like a back of an envelope job. I could do this in half an hour.”

MPs voted by 311 to 302 in favour of a motion, led by former Tory attorney general Dominic Grieve, for the Government to publish dossiers detailing no deal Brexit plans and also required the Prime Minister to disclose information surrounding the prorogation of Parliament.

When publishing the document, Michael Gove sent a letter to Hilary Benn and said the Yellowhammer report is a “reasonable worst-case scenario” and not “a prediction of what is most likely to happen”.

The documents reveal that a no deal Brexit could trigger major hold-ups at channel ports, electricity price increased, shortages of some foods and delays to medicine imports. HGV delays of between one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half days would occur at Dover and public disorder could increase, according to the documents.


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Last month Operation Yellowhammer documents were leaked to the press, detailing how Britain would be left vulnerable without a deal.

The dossier warned of shortages of fuel, medicine and food, protests, road blockades and chaos at the ports. It says: “There are likely to be significant electricity (price) increases for consumers.”

The document also reveals: “Protests and counter-protests will take place across the UK and may absorb significant amounts of police resource. There may also be a rise in public disorder and community tensions.”

Mr Gove, the cabinet minister in charge of no deal planning, assured the Government had taken “significant additional steps to ensure that we are prepared to leave on October 31 deal or no-deal”.

He said: “Any prudent Government will always plan for absolutely the worst case. In the last three weeks there has been a significant acceleration in what we’ve been doing.

“Yes, of course there are challenges in leaving without a deal, but there are also opportunities after October 31 if we have left with a clean break.”

Published at Thu, 12 Sep 2019 19:38:00 +0000