UK’s Brexit ‘war cabinet’ draws up No Deal dossier warning to Ireland

Brexit ‘war cabinet’ led by Michael Gove draws up No Deal dossier warning Ireland could be hit by medical shortages and border delays to use as ‘leverage’ against Dublin if withdrawal talks break down

  • Michael Gove’s Brexit operations committee drew up the document
  • It was leaked to the Times as Brexit talks appeared on the brink of collapse 
  • EU leaders have said that the PM’s new deal is unacceptable in its current form 

Boris Johnson’s ‘war cabinet’ has drawn up a secret dossier of threats to Ireland under a No Deal Brexit to use as ‘leverage’ over Dublin if talks with the EU over the UK’s departure break down.  

Michael Gove’s Brexit operations committee drew up the document warning that the Republic could suffer a shortage of medicines, customs delays at the border with Northern Ireland and a loss of access to fishing grounds off Ulster.

The document was leaked to the Times as Brexit talks appeared on the brink of collapse, with the EU goading Mr Johnson over what a ‘mess’ he is in.

The leaked details will raise memories of a suggestion by Priti Patel, now the Home Secretary, in December last year, that the UK use potential food shortages in Ireland under No Deal as a bargaining tool in negotiations. 

Michael Gove’s Brexit operations committee drew up the document warning that the Republic could suffer a shortage of medicines

It also highlighted customs delays at the border with Northern Ireland (pictured) and a loss of access to fishing grounds off Ulster

Leaked papers before Christmas suggested Ireland would face foot shortages and a 7 per cent plunge in GDP if there was a sudden no deal in March. 

Ms Patel told the Times at the time: ‘This paper appears to show the government were well aware Ireland will face significant issues in a no-deal scenario.

‘Why hasn’t this point been pressed home during the negotiations? There is still time to go back to Brussels and get a better deal.’

The PM will hit the phones to other European leaders today as he steps up the scramble to get a deal before a crunch summit on October 17.

But he is facing a brick wall of resistance to his new Brexit blueprint, and French president Emmanuel Macron warned last night that he must make more concessions within days.

The document reportedly highlights the fact that 60 per cent of Irish medicines come from the UK. 

It also raises the prospect of disruption to cross-border horse transport, the loss of fishing rights off Northern Ireland and the introduction of long customs checks on the Holyhead Bridge in North Wales, which links the ferryport with boats to Dublin with the UK mainland.

The PM will hit the phones to other European leaders today as he steps up the scramble to get a deal before a crunch summit on October 17

Finnish prime minister Antti Rinne jibed that Mr Johnson had only just realised ‘what a big mess this is’.

As the deadlock deepens, Downing Street is desperately hunting for ways around the Remainer rebel law ordering Mr Johnson to beg for an extension if an agreement is not in place by October 19.

There are claims the premier could take a case to the Supreme Court in a bid to avoid obeying the ‘Surrender Act’, even potentially giving evidence in person. Cabinet ministers believe Mr Johnson must at least go down fighting, or the Tories could be eaten alive by Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party at the looming election.

       
   

 

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