London (AP) – Under pressure from Parliament, the British government has published an internal paper in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The "Yellowhammer" document, publicized on Wednesday evening, leaked to the press last month and contains forecasts of what should happen in the event of an unregulated EU exit from the UK. It causes a stir, especially that the title has now been obviously changed.
The "Sunday Times" journalist Rosamund Urwin had been leaked content identical documents with the heading "Basic Scenario" weeks ago, as she wrote on Twitter. The papers released by the government on Wednesday are titled "Worst Case Planning Assumptions".
The amended heading could confirm the opposition's presumption that the government is downplaying the potential consequences of an unregulated exit from the EU on 31 October. "Operation Yellowhammer" (Goldammer) is the code name for the no-deal planning of the British government.
The six-page document warns, among other things, about protests and public order disruptions that would require a "significant amount" of police forces. In addition, long waiting times in the English Channel could lead to supply bottlenecks for medicines. As a result, diseases could break out in animals that could also affect human health. Certain foods may also be scarce, according to the document, made worse by buying hamsters. Parts of the country could also be fuel shortages.
With the publications, the government remains far behind the demands of Parliament. MEPs demanded the release of all documents on the no-deal plans on Monday, just before the start of a five-week compulsory break imposed by Johnson. In addition, they requested the complete correspondence, including e-mails and short messages from important government employees and consultants. Minister of State Michael Gove rejected the claim as "inappropriate and disproportionate". The government must protect the privacy of its employees.
Background of the demand for the correspondence was the assumption that Johnson wanted the parliament with the compulsory break simply cool down, in order to be able to pull through a no-deal Brexit. The prime minister is openly threatening to lead his country out of the EU without an agreement if Brussels does not agree to his demands for changes to the withdrawal agreement. Meanwhile, the parliament has passed a law that forces him to apply for an extension, should not a timely deal with the EU come about.
On Wednesday, a Scottish court upheld the opinion of the Johnson critics and declared the compulsory break unlawful. The judges concluded that Johnson really wanted to escape parliamentary scrutiny. The court announced that the forced break – which is supposed to end only on 14 October – to declare "null and void".
Opposition MPs called on the government to re-convene Parliament immediately. "They should call us back so that we can do our job," Labor MP Hilary Benn told British broadcaster Sky News. But the government rejected the demands and announced that it would first appeal to the UK Supreme Court, which is scheduled to discuss the matter next Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for European Parliament President John Bercow said it was the responsibility of the government to end the forced break prematurely. Johnson did not comment on Wednesday's verdict.