‘I’d rather put my phone in a blender!’: No10 aides REFUSE to hand over private messages about prorogation after release of Operation Yellowhammer files on No Deal Brexit

  • The government forced to release redacted versions of the documents connected to no-deal Brexit planning
  • No10 refused the request to hand over communications of key advisers about decision to suspend Parliament
  • Operation Yellowhammer dossier says a no deal Brexit would lead to delays in medicine, and public disorder
  • Michael Gove said request for messages from aides was 'unprecedented, inappropriate and disproportionate'
  • Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said the documents 'confirm the severe risks of a no-deal Brexit'
  • It comes on the same day an Edinburgh court decided that the prorogation of parliament was unlawful
  • Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve responded last night and renewed calls for a second referendum

Remainers today threatened to expel Boris Johnson from Parliament after he finally released the government’s No Deal risk assessment – but refused to hand over No10 aides’ private messages.

The government bowed to the will of the Commons by issuing redacted versions of the Operation Yellowhammer documents connected to no-deal Brexit planning, in response to MPs voting for it to happen.

But the PM refused to comply with a Commons demand to publish personal messages between special advisers -known in Westminster as Spads – about his controversial five week prorogation of Parliament. 

A Scottish court yesterday ruled that Mr Johnson had acted unlawfully in suspending the Houses, suggesting he might have misled the Queen about his ‘improper’ motive. 

One former adviser jibed that he would ‘rather put my phone in a blender’ than hand it over to rebel MPs.

However, former Tory Cabinet minister and rebel ringleader Dominic Grieve condemned the refusal to release the material and warned that Mr Johnson could be held in contempt of Parliament.

‘It could end up with the prime minister being expelled from the Commons, but it is for the House to decide,’ he told the Times.

The newly released government dossier of ‘worst case planning assumptions’ says a no deal Brexit would lead to delays in medicine, illegal fishing boats, public disorder, delays at the border and rising food prices for those on the lowest incomes. 

When most of the documents were leaked earlier this year, they were headed ‘base case’, and civil servants faced accusations of ‘scaremongering’.

No food shortages are predicted but a reduction in the ‘availability and choice of products’ is predicted if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Despite this, the document, which features 20 ‘key planning assumptions’ – one of which is partially redacted – reveal some very real concerns over a no deal exit including electricity price increases, delays to medicine imports, protests across the UK and disruption to the financial services sector. 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace tried to play down the dire scenario, saying the Government was planning ‘every day’ to mitigate the potential effects. 

‘That is why we are doing things about it,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. ‘That is why the Chancellor opened his cheque book, that’s why we are spending the money on doing lots of things to mitigate those assumptions. 

‘Every day, we plan everything from whether we need to find alternative suppliers, whether we need to go out to the private sector to charter things, whether we need to plan using our Army or our police forces in certain scenarios.’ 

In a letter to Mr Grieve, Michael Gove said the request for communications from key aides – such as Dominic Cummings – to prorogue Parliament was ‘unprecedented, inappropriate and disproportionate.’ 

Mr Gove added that ‘to name individuals without any regard to their rights or the consequences goes beyond any reasonable right of parliament.’

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