Brexit: Navy may need to intervene in UK-EU fishing clashes

Brexit: Navy may need to intervene in UK-EU fishing clashes

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The Navy may be needed to prevent British fishermen clashing with European boats if a second coronavirus crisis coincides with a no-deal Brexit, according to a leaked government document.

The RAF could also be required to drop food on the Channel Islands, according to a Cabinet Office “reasonable worst-case scenario” paper seen by The Sun newspaper.

Troops may also have to be drafted on to the streets if the economic fallout triggers public unrest, shortages and price rises.

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The EU warned last week that Brexit negotiations were going backwards and the UK was running out of time to prevent a ‘no deal’.

Cabinet office minister Michael Gove is said to be working flat out to prepare in case the UK leaves the EU without a future trade agreement.

The classified document, from July, also warns parts of the UK could face power and petrol shortages if a ‘no deal’ Brexit leaves thousands of lorries stranded in Dover.

The same problem could lead to medicine shortages which could cause animal diseases to spread.

The addition of floods and flu as well as another coronavirus wave could see hospitals overwhelmed.

A government spokeswoman said the document “reflects a responsible Government ensuring we are ready for all eventualities”.

The government has warned the UK has to be braced for a potential second wave of Covid-19 this winter.

Mr Gove said the UK had to be ready “come what may”.

He said: “We got Brexit done with a great deal in January and we are working flat out to make sure the United Kingdom is ready for the changes and huge opportunities at the end of the year as we regain our political and economic independence for the first time in almost fifty years.

“Part of this work includes routine contingency planning for various scenarios that we do not think will happen, but we must be ready for come what may. Whether we trade with the EU on terms similar to Canada or to Australia, a brighter future awaits as we forge our own path.”

A Government spokeswoman added: “At the end of the year we will be outside the single market and the customs union, whatever the outcome of negotiations, and intensive planning is under way to help ensure that businesses and citizens are ready to take advantage of the opportunities and changes that will bring.

“This includes launching a comprehensive communications campaign to make sure everyone knows what they need to do to prepare.

“As a responsible Government we continue to make extensive preparations for a wide range of scenarios, including the reasonable worst case.

“This is not a forecast or prediction of what will happen but rather a stretching scenario. It reflects a responsible government ensuring we are ready for all eventualities.”

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