6 months of ports chaos

No-deal alert up from 6 wks as NHS faces drug tur­moil

Daily Mirror - - NEWS - BY BEN GLAZE Deputy Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor [email protected] @benglaze

A NO-DEAL Brexit could spark six months of ports chaos and dis­rupt NHS medicine ship­ments, the Gov­ern­ment warns.

Min­is­ters had ex­pected six weeks of dis­rup­tion at Folke­stone and Dover if we crashed out of the EU.

But Health Sec­re­tary Matt Han­cock has now warned drug firms to plan for six months of “sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced ac­cess” to the main trade routes be­tween us and the con­ti­nent un­der a no-deal sce­nario.

Civil ser­vants from the Depart­ment for Trans­port, HMRC, the Home Of­fice and the Brexit Depart­ment held cri­sis talks over polic­ing the border amid fears MPs will sink Theresa May’s deal in next Tues­day’s Com­mons vote. Mr Han­cock said planes could fly in medicines and be given pri­or­ity ac­cess through grid­locked ports.

In a let­ter to NHS of­fi­cials, he said: “Re­vised cross-Gov­ern­ment plan­ning as­sump­tions show there will be sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced ac­cess across the short straits, for up to six months.

“This is very much a worst-case sce­nario. In a ‘no deal’ exit we would, of course, be press­ing mem­ber states hard to in­tro­duce prag­matic ar­range­ments to en­sure the con­tin­ued full flow of goods, which would be to their ben­e­fit as well. Nev­er­the­less, we have a duty to plan for all sce­nar­ios.”

Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn said: “A no-deal Brexit would not only do se­ri­ous dam­age to the UK but have un­pre­dictable and dam­ag­ing con­se­quences across Europe. It must be ac­tively avoided by all sides.”

An amend­ment tabled by Tory back­benchers would give Par­lia­ment the power to im­pose a one-year limit on the back­stop, de­signed to pre­vent a hard border be­tween North­ern Ire­land and the Repub­lic.

DUP leader Ar­lene Foster, whose party op­poses the deal, said it would not be enough, adding: “Do­mes­tic leg­isla­tive tin­ker­ing won’t cut it.”

CRI­SIS Health Sec­re­tary Matt Han­cock

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