PM urged to recall parliament after redacted parts of Yellowhammer doc revealed - so what do they say?

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

Redacted elements of the Operation Yellowhammer document have been revealed - and they outline potential fuel shortages after a no-deal Brexit.

The publication of the document details how the Government is planning to deal with a potential clean break with the EU - but paragraph 15 was blacked out by ministers and civil servants.

However, a leaked version of the document, that was published by The Times over the summer, has revealed that the missing paragraph is about potential fuel shortages and losses of 2,000 jobs with the closure of two refineries.

The redacted paragraph in Operation Yellowhammer deals with fuel shortages, according to a leaked version of the document (PA)

According to the leak, the paragraph reads: “15. Facing EU tariffs makes petrol exports to the EU uncompetitive.

“Industry had plans to mitigate the impact on refinery margins and profitability but UK Government policy to set petrol import tariffs at 0% inadvertently undermines these plans.

“This leads to significant financial losses and announcement of two refinery closures (and transition to import terminals) and direct job losses (about 2,000).

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“Resulting strike action at refineries would lead to disruptions to fuel availability for 1-2 weeks in the regions directly supplied by the refineries.”

The Government said that the text had been redacted in the official publication “on the grounds of commercial sensitivity”.

Following the publication of the document, that also revealed that a no-deal Brexit could trigger medical shortages, food price rises and major cross-channel trade delays, Boris Johnson is now facing renewed pressure to recall Parliament after it was prorogued this week.

The opposition seized on the release of Operation Yellowhammer assessments of the impact of leaving the EU without an agreement (PA)

While releasing analysis on impacts of no deal, the Government refused to comply with a similar Commons demand to make public personal messages from special advisers regarding the controversial five week prorogation of Parliament.

The move came as judgment was due on Thursday in a legal challenge that argued the Government’s Brexit strategy will damage the Northern Ireland peace process.

The “reasonable worst case planning assessments” of a no-deal exit which were released at the demand of MPs showed that major hold-ups at channel ports could occur, along with “significant” electricity price rises and a return to a hard border in Northern Ireland.

On food, the document warned that some fresh supplies will decrease and that “critical dependencies for the food chain” such as key ingredients “may be in shorter supply”.

It said these factors would not lead to overall food shortages “but will reduce the availability and choice of products and will increase price, which could impact vulnerable groups”.

An electronic road sign on the A2 in Gravesend warning of possible changes to EU paperwork post-Brexit (PA)

The document also said: “Low-income groups will be disproportionately affected by any price rises in food and fuel.”

The analysis said the flow of cross-Channel goods could be reduced to 40% of current rates on day one, with “significant disruption lasting up to six months”.

“Unmitigated, this will have an impact on the supply of medicines and medical supplies,” it said.

“The reliance of medicines and medical products’ supply chains on the short straits crossing make them particularly vulnerable to severe extended delays.”

Boris Johnson has been urged to recall Parliament following the publication of the document (PA)

The document said: “There are likely to be significant electricity (price) increases for consumers.”

The document is very similar to one leaked last month, which the Government insisted was out of date.

The leaked information was marked a “base case” scenario, but the information released by the Government, part of which was redacted, was labelled a “worst-case scenario”.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: “These documents confirm the severe risks of a no deal Brexit, which Labour has worked so hard to block.

“It is also now more important than ever that Parliament is recalled and has the opportunity to scrutinise these documents and take all steps necessary to stop no deal.”

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