'Consumer panic' and food shortages - leaked Whitehall document warns of risks in first month after no-deal Brexit

A leaked internal Whitehall slide warns of “consumer panic” and “law and order challenges” in Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit (Picture: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg)

A leaked internal Whitehall slide has warned of “consumer panic”, food shortages, security issues and “law and order challenges” in Northern Ireland in the first month following a no-deal Brexit.

The slide, obtained by Sky News and reportedly produced before Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, outlines the risks of a no-deal Brexit in the first day, first fortnight and first month.

The slide addresses areas including: ‘border’, ‘Northern Ireland’, ‘security’, ‘individuals’ and ‘economy’, outlining potential issues.

It warns that within the first fortnight, issues relating to the border could include: “potential consumer panic and food shortages, even in areas which are not directly affected at the border”.

When it comes to Northern Ireland, issues in the first day could include the end of cross-border agri-trade, it warns, while the first month could see: “small business face distress and potential law and order challenges”.


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The slide, marked as “official sensitive” and “for discussion”, suggests that in the first day following a no-deal Brexit UK nationals in the EU could lose access to services and residence rights.

It adds that some could start returning to the UK within the first month.

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In the area of security, it also warns that in the first fortnight there could be the increased risk of serious organised crime including people smuggling and illegal migration, while the first month could see: “heightened policing resource unsustainable” and “operational gaps” could emerge.

Economic concerns include the volatility of currency and financial markets, with disruption to business.

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