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Labour demands Parliament be recalled immediately

No 10’s no-deal contingency plan ‘reveals an absolute catastrophe for our country,’ shadow transport secretary says

LABOUR demanded today that Parliament be recalled immediately after internal government documents were released showing a no-deal Brexit would be “catastrophic.”

No 10’s no-deal contingency planning, codenamed Operation Yellowhammer, warns of delays in importing medicines and disruption at ports and borders.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace insisted the papers represented a “worst case scenario” and that the government was working “every day” to mitigate the potential effects.

However shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said Parliament should be recalled immediately so Prime Minister Boris Johnson can answer questions in relation to Operation Yellowhammer.

He said: “It reveals an absolute catastrophe for our country if he continues to drive the ship towards the rocks as he is going to do.

“This is more like emergency planning for war or a natural disaster.

“We can not minimise this. It does not get more stark, and we have got to wake up to the issues around us.”

Former Tory attorney general Dominic Grieve said the level of disruption set out in the Yellowhammer papers was “unprecedented” and would be damaging for the British public.

He said: “Even if we are ready for a no-deal Brexit, this is highly disruptive and costly.”

The latest Brexit mess comes as the Commons financial watchdog warned that Whitehall departments were being “overly secretive” about £97 million they have spent on Brexit consultants.

Departments had generally failed to meet the government’s own transparency standards in regards to the spending, according to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

The PAC reported that Whitehall had spent at least £97m on consultancy firms in support of preparations for Brexit by April 2019.

MPs said there was “confusion” over how much is being spent and that consultants had been used more for “thinking and planning rather than doing.”

Civil servants’ union the FDA has also written to Mr Johnson seeking assurances that Whitehall staff will not be asked to break the law on Brexit.

The letter comes after Downing Street insisted the government would not comply with legislation designed to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

FDA general secretary Dave Penman tells Mr Johnson of “increasing consternation” among civil servants who may be asked to ignore the will of Parliament.

Mr Penman told Mr Johnson that Brexit had been a “lightning rod for attacks on the Civil Service” and called on the PM to end any speculation.

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