MPs should cut short their summer holiday in “the next few days” and return to Westminster to sort out Brexit , Labour demanded today.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell backed more than 100 MPs’ plea for Parliament to be recalled after a leaked report showed the chaos of a No Deal Brexit .
The Operation Yellowhammer briefing said petrol and medical supplies could be disrupted and up to 85% of lorries using Channel ports may not be ready for French customs checks. It added 15,000 workers who cross daily from Spain to Gibraltar face delays of more than four hours “at least for a few months”.
Cabinet No Deal chief Michael Gove said it was a “worst case scenario” and “very significant steps” have been taken since it was produced – said to have been on August 1.
But Mr McDonnell told the BBC: “I think it’s a good initiative to say we need to get back into Parliament.
“We are facing a critical issue here and we should be debating it in Parliament.”
MPs are only due back from their summer recess – which many use to catch up on constituency work – on September 3.
Mr McDonnell said: “There’s a need now to bring MPs back together again because we need time now to really have a proper debate and discussion about this matter.”
In a major speech today, Jeremy Corbyn – who is understood to back Mr McDonnell’s call – will vow to do everything to prevent a No Deal Brexit on October 31.
But Mr McDonnell ruled out Mr Corbyn standing aside so another MP can become Prime Minister.
“We don’t believe that’s a negotiable issue,” said Mr McDonnell.
“We want to abide by the normal constitutional practice … Jeremy is going to bring the leader of the opposition parties together next week and talk about how we go forward.”
Mr McDonnell also did not guarantee Labour will bring forward a no-confidence motion in the government as soon as Parliament returns.
He told the BBC: “The no confidence motion is one mechanism.But, as Jeremy has said today, there’s other mechanisms people are looking at, other parliamentary mechanisms, and we want to have a proper discussion and dialogue on a cross-party basis on what those mechanisms are.”
The chances of No Deal Brexit have been ramping up after Boris Johnson said he would leave “do or die” on October 31.
The Prime Minister will visit Berlin and Paris this week to meet leaders Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron followed by the G7 summit in Biarritz.
But the chances of a breakthrough look bleak with the EU still refusing to reopen the 585-page Brexit withdrawal agreement.
The Operation Yellowhammer document was leaked to the Sunday Times – prompting a furious response from Downing Street.
Despite the document being produced by his own government, Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng blamed it on “scaremongering and a lot of people playing into Project Fear.”
A Number 10 source said: “This document is from when ministers were blocking what needed to be done to get ready to leave and the funds were not available.
“It has been deliberately leaked by a former minister in an attempt to influence discussions with EU leaders.
“Those obstructing preparation are no longer in Government, £2 billion of extra funding already made available and Whitehall has been stood up to actually do the work through the daily ministerial meetings.
“The entire posture of Government has changed.”
Despite the source’s claim, Sky News today reported that the document was presented at a Brexit ‘war cabinet’ meeting on August 1 – after Boris Johnson took power.
Caroline Lucas, former leader of the Green Party, has said MPs must return to Parliament to hold an “increasingly reckless” Boris Johnson to account.
She told the BBC: “I think there is ever more evidence of the, frankly, impending national emergency that we are facing. MPs should be in Parliament holding an increasingly reckless Prime Minister to account.
“Since his election as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has been subject to, I think, about three hours of scrutiny.
“And yet he is putting his foot on the accelerator, driving the country off the cliff-edge as if he had a huge mandate and overwhelming support.
“He has no mandate for this. The Government has a majority of precisely one.”
She added: “I think at a time of such emergency, the public are rightly saying ‘Where are MPs? Where are they when it comes to holding this Prime Minister to account?’.”
The Operation Yellowhammer briefing said some supplies of fresh food will fall with hundreds of thousands of customers affected by water supplies.
It added 300 foreign boats could be illegally fishing in UK waters after October 31, risking clashes at sea.
And it said the “fragile” care industry could be hit by rising inflation and small operators could collapse within three months.
Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, said avoiding no-deal must be the “number one priority” for the Government.
She told the BBC: “I think that what Yellowhammer does show is just how incredibly serious for our economy a no-deal outcome would be.”
She added: “I think we have become more prepared for the short-run disruption, not fully prepared, I don’t think that can be done, you know. If you have any delays at borders that will be significant.”
John McDonnell said it is “annoying” that Michael Gove and Boris Johnson say there is “no risk”.
The Shadow Chancellor said: “They are wealthy people, they won’t be bearing the risk. I’m worried about, if there are food prices (rises), there are people out there, it’s bad enough, they’re just struggling to get through.”