Operation Yellowhammer to launch in 72 hours

No deal: President Macron of France last night warned Britain was heading for a hard Brexit.

That is the colourful codename for the British no-deal plan — including 5,000 staff in an emergency command and control centre. It will launch on Monday if there is no EU agreement by then.

The pound is falling. Concrete barriers are going up around Dover. Medicine suppliers are booking space on ferries.

There are just seven days left until March 29 — when Britain will crash out of the EU without a deal unless a concrete alternative is agreed.

The EU looks set to offer Theresa May a short extension on Article 50, but only if she can get her twice-defeated deal through Parliament next week. For that to happen, almost 150 MPs would have to change their minds.

And even a temporary extension cannot rule out a no-deal Brexit.

The clock is ticking. On Monday, the government will decide whether to launch Operation Yellowhammer — the code name for its no-deal Brexit plan.

Yellowhammer would bring together 30 government departments and 5,000 staff to coordinate the emergency response to a no-deal Brexit. The plan identifies 12 “at risk” areas including transport, food supplies and healthcare services.

Last year, Kent Council — home to Dover — warned that roads could become so blocked that children cannot get to school.

Here are some warnings from government offices:

1/ The economy will be 9% weaker for 15 years after a no-deal Brexit.

2/ Health Secretary Matt Hancock has told drug companies to expect six months of “significantly reduced access” to transport.

3/ Areas of Scotland and Cornwall could run out of food within two weeks.

My way

Are no-deal fears just scaremongering? Currently, it is in both the EU and the government’s interests to amplify the risks of no deal, putting pressure on MPs to pass May’s deal next week.

But if a no-deal outcome becomes inevitable, would Europe seek to punish the UK, even at its own cost? Or would both sides be able to work together to avert disaster? Can 40 years of union really be untied smoothly in mere days?

You Decide

  1. Are you worried about a no-deal Brexit?

Activities

  1. You have been put in charge of co-ordinating Britain’s response to a no-deal Brexit. What are your top five priorities and how will you carry them out?

Some People Say...

“We have done our best, now the solution is in London.”

Michel Barnier

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Yesterday, Theresa May travelled to Brussels to ask the EU to extend Article 50 for a short period. The EU has indicated that it is open to an extension, but only if May can get her twice-defeated deal approved by MPs this week.
What do we not know?
Over a thousand days after the EU referendum, we still do not know the manner in which Britain will leave the EU, or even if it will.

Word Watch

Falling
The pound fell 1% yesterday.
Article 50
Britain activated it in March 2017, starting a two-year countdown until Brexit day.
150 MPs
May lost the second meaningful vote by 149 votes.
Yellowhammer
Named after a songbird.
9%
According to an official government document published last month.
Scotland and Cornwall
In one of several scenarios that civil servants are preparing for.
Scaremongering
Exaggerating concerns to try and make people scared of something.