British civil servants have warned of shortages of food, fuel and medicines within weeks if the U.K. leaves the European Union next year without a trade deal, a newspaper reported yesterday.
The Sunday Times said government officials have modeled three potential scenarios for a "no deal" Brexit: mild, severe and "Armageddon." It said under the "severe" scenario, the English Channel ferry port of Dover would "collapse on day one" and supermarkets and hospitals would soon run short of supplies.
Britain wants to strike a deal on future trade relations with the EU before it officially leaves the bloc on March 29, 2019, but officials are also drawing up plans for negotiations ending without an agreement.
The U.K.'s Department for Exiting the European Union rejected the downbeat scenario, saying it was drawing up no-deal plans but was confident "none of this would come to pass."
Britain and the EU are aiming to strike an overall Brexit agreement by October, so parliaments in other EU nations have time to ratify it before Britain leaves the bloc.
But British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative government is split between ministers who favor a clean-break "hard Brexit," that would leave Britain freer to strike new trade deals around the world, and those who want to keep the country closely aligned to the EU, Britain's biggest trading partner.
EU leaders are frustrated with what they see as a lack of firm proposals from the U.K. over how to resolve major issues around customs arrangements and the status of the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. That will be the U.K.'s only land border with the EU after Britain leaves the bloc.
Irish Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney said Saturday that the U.K. must produce "written proposals" for the border within two weeks, ahead of a June 28-29 EU summit.
British Home Secretary Sajid Javid said yesterday that the British government would have "a good set of proposals" to submit to the bloc at its June meeting.
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