UK supermarkets have been told to start stockpiling supplies of vital foods and other necessities amid panic-buying fears ahead of a potential No Deal Brexit in less than three weeks’ time.
There were huge queues in Kent outside Dover yesterday, following similar tailbacks at Calais on Friday, as retailers and suppliers began ‘stock-building’ amid rising gloom at the chances of a trade deal with Brussels.
There are fears of shortages of vegetables – which predominantly come from EU nations – for months at the start of 2021 if negotiators locked in last-gasp talks today fail to bridge a gaping chasm on fishing rights and trade rules.
Ministers have drawn up plans for a £10billion bailout package for sectors of the economy that are set to be badly hit in the worst-case scenario. They include farmers and food producers, chemical suppliers, the car industry and fishing fleets, the Sunday Telegraph reported.
A supermarket industry source told the Sunday Times: ‘There was a conversation a week ago when ministers said prepare for No Deal. This weekend the message is that it’s No Deal.
‘Supermarkets and ministers are hugely worried about panic-buying. They saw what happened over Covid when people started hoarding toilet rolls and know how quickly it can go wrong.
‘That will be nothing compared to what will happen. Meat supplies will be fine and fruit comes from South America but there are likely to be shortages of vegetables for three months.’
Last night Boris Johnson seized personal control of Britain’s No Deal preparations as the deadline for historic talks with the EU expires today.
One source said that she was ‘determined to make Britain crawl across broken glass’ rather than reach a compromise.
The Prime Minister will hold further talks with European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen today with hopes of an agreement currently very low.
His Whitehall intervention is aimed at protecting vital supplies of food and medicines after January 1. He will head a new ‘super-committee’ to run alongside the existing No Deal preparation group chaired by Michael Gove.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab this morning suggested that EU intransigence was being driven by Brussels’ fears of UK success in the future.
‘He told Sky’s Ridge on Sunday: ‘I think the Eu is concerned that actually Britain might do rather well once we leave the EU and is worried about the competitive advantage, even on the normal global rules that apply.’
He also suggested that the talks could continue after today if there is some progress.
Lorries queuing on the A20 yesterday to enter the Port of Dover to board ferries to Europe as supermarkets began stockpiling food and other necessities
Ministers are keen to avoid scenes like those in March when people panic-bought toilet paper and other goods ahead of the firm Covid lockdown
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab this morning suggested that EU intransigence was being driven by Brussels’ being ‘concerned Britain might do rather well’ after leaving.
Boris Johnson (left) has seized personal control of Britain’s No Deal preparations as the deadline for historic talks with the EU expires today. The move comes as Government sources put the chances of negotiations failing as high as 80 per cent, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) being blamed for the European Union’s hard line
Tories at war: Ex-Tory chairman blasts Brexit plan to protect fishermen with Royal Navy warships
Boris Johnson was today blasted as an ‘English nationalist’ by a former Conservative party chairman as Tories rowed over the Prime Minister’s Brexit plan.
Gunboats are being prepared for any ‘punch-up’ with ‘stormy’ French fishermen as last-minute negotiations with the EU rumble on.
The trade talks continue to be deadlocked over the thorny issues of fishing rights and the so-called level playing field ‘ratchet’ that would tie the UK to future EU standards.
Chief trade negotiators Michel Barnier and Lord Frost were set to start negotiating again shortly before midday today in Brussels, with talks also scheduled for tomorrow.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed last night four 80-metre gunboats are on standby to stop EU trawlers using British waters, assuming there is no new agreement on fishing rights after December 31 when transitional arrangements end.
Reports also suggested that military helicopter surveillance will be made available and that ministers are considering beefing-up Navy powers in legislation to authorise them to board and arrest fishermen found to be contravening post-Brexit rules.
Meanwhile, preparations are being made at ports, with part of the M20 motorway to be shut for four consecutive nights across the weekend as Kent tests plans to tackle any disruption as a result of customs changes.
But the navy threat has been slammed by other members of Mr Johnson’s party, with Tobias Ellwood, Conservative chairman of the Commons Defence Committee, calling it ‘irresponsible’ while former European commissioner Lord Patten accused the Prime Minister of behaving like an ‘English nationalist’.
Lord Patten added that Mr Johnson was on a ‘runaway train of English exceptionalism’ in thinking no-deal would allow the nation to prosper.
He told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: ‘While I hope for the best, I do fear for the worst because it is very, very difficult to see what the plan is, how we’re going to do so brilliantly when we’re out of this ‘cage’ of Europe – which we of course helped to build because the main constructor of the single market was Margaret Thatcher.’
The Foreign Secretary said the UK had worked ‘very hard’ at a technical level during the recent negotiations in Brussels but argued that there needed to be political ‘willing’ to secure a Brexit trade deal.
Talks could theoretically continue up until Christmas Day, with the Commons even sitting on Boxing Day to put any deal on to the statute book.
Mr Johnson is, however, adamant that the UK will not go back to the negotiating table after December 31, when the Brexit transition period expires.
Mr Johnson faced fury from Leave-backing Tory grandees last night. Former minister Lord Heseltine, writing in the Observer, said: ‘This government will be – and should be – held responsible for quite simply the worst peacetime decision of modern times. I know personally of members of the cabinet who believe this as firmly as I do. I cannot understand their silence.’
‘Christmas is upon us and before the country goes back to work we are on our own. Sovereign, in charge, control regained. None of that creates a single job, one pound’s worth of investment or any rise in living standards. We will have risked our trading relationship with the world’s largest market which accounts for nearly half our imports and exports.’
Talks were continuing into this morning, but one Government source said: ‘As things stand, the offer on the table from the EU remains unacceptable. The Prime Minister will leave no stone unturned in this process, but he is absolutely clear: any agreement must be fair and respect the fundamental position that the UK will be a sovereign nation in three weeks’ time. If they want a deal, it has to be now.’
The talks have been paralysed by rows over fishing rights and the so-called level playing field ‘ratchet’ that would tie the UK to future EU standards.
It is understood that remaining hopes of a last-minute breakthrough hinge on discussions about a new body that could settle future disputes between London and Brussels about trade laws and tariffs.
British negotiators believe a personality clash has compounded the problem because the ‘Lutheran’ Mrs Merkel does not trust the ‘libertine’ Mr Johnson.
One Minister involved in the negotiations said that Mr Johnson was being ‘strong and resolute’, but claimed that Chancellor Rishi Sunak was ‘wobbling’ over the economic cost of No Deal and was in the ‘sell-out camp’.
Under the No Deal contingency plans released last night:
- More than 3,000 lorries a week will be mobilised to bring essential drugs and medical equipment into the UK;
- A total of 1,100 extra customs and immigration officers will be manning the border by March, while 20 telephone helplines will provide advice to businesses;
- Whitehall will ‘war-game’ its No Deal preparations within days in Operation Capstone, which will simulate the worst-case scenarios;
- An official ‘playbook’ has been devised to ‘map out every foreseeable No Deal scenario’, according to sources, with ‘Minister-approved courses of action’;
- Live exercises have been run to move fresh produce, fish and even day-old chicks from the EU to the UK;
- A bespoke phone app for hauliers will keep lorries moving by directing drivers to the closest of seven new inland border checkpoints, while a ‘haulier handbook’ on the changes has been translated into 13 languages;
- A Border Operations Centre is being manned around the clock by expert officials to limit hold-ups;
- A Fish Export Service will issue ‘validated catch certificates’ and technical support for the industry.
Mr Johnson’s Whitehall intervention is aimed at protecting vital supplies of food and medicines after January 1. He will head a new ‘super-committee’ to run alongside the existing No Deal preparation group chaired by Michael Gove
The UK’s chief trade negotiator Lord Frost was seen leaving European Union headquarters in Brussels via a dingy underground car park (pictured) following a meeting with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier on Saturday
The UK’s chief trade negotiator Lord Frost was yesterday seen leaving the European Union headquarters in Brussels via an underground car park following a meeting with his EU counterpart Michel Barnier.
The Prime Minister is being urged by Tory donors not to agree to any EU-backed extension to talks, with a number of big benefactors signalling that they would be happy with No Deal.
One insider said: ‘The worst thing in the world would be an extension. Most donors would say no to that. People just want to get out. They think we voted to leave the EU, and that Boris got his 80-seat majority because of leaving the EU.’
Internal party polling has found that 75 per cent of Tory members oppose any extension to talks.
The so-called XO committee on preparations for the end of the Brexit transition period, chaired by Mr Gove, has met more 200 times. With just three weeks to go until the end of the period, it will now be supplemented by the larger ‘Super XO’ committee, chaired by Mr Johnson, to finalise the planning.
The Prime Minister faced criticism from his own backbenches last night after announcing that four Royal Navy vessels would be dispatched to protect British waters if a trade deal cannot be agreed.
Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, who chairs the Commons Defence Committee, described the threat as ‘irresponsible’, and former Conservative Party chairman Lord Patten accused Mr Johnson of being on a ‘runaway train of English exceptionalism’.
However, Admiral Lord West, a former chief of naval staff, said it was ‘absolutely appropriate for the Navy to do as it is told by the Government’.
The Ministry of Defence said it was prepared for a ‘range of scenarios’ after December 31.
Tory MP Tobias Ellwood (left), who chairs the Commons Defence Committee, described the threat as ‘irresponsible’, and former Conservative Party chairman Lord Patten accused Mr Johnson of being on a ‘runaway train of English exceptionalism’. But Admiral Lord West (pictured), a former chief of naval staff, said it was ‘absolutely appropriate for the Navy to do as it is told by the Government’
Access to UK waters has been one of the main sticking points in the negotiations, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying he was unwilling to ‘give up my share of the cake’.
The Government signed a £86.6 million deal with four ferry companies last year to allow up to 3,000 lorries full of drugs and medical equipment to be transported into Britain every week across 13 routes.
A Whitehall source said: ‘With this new intelligence and investment at the border, we will keep goods and people moving smoothly and make our country safer and more secure.
‘Having safeguarded the flow of critical goods, such as vaccines and vital medicines, through surging freight capacity, no one needs to worry about our food, medicine or vital supply chains. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure everyone is ready.
‘As with any major change, Deal or No Deal, there will be challenges and bumps to overcome. But we have laid the groundwork to minimise the disruption which occurs in either scenario.’
How ‘Frau Nein’ blocked a Brexit deal: Top British officials blame clergyman’s daughter Angela Merkel’s ‘Lutheran’ distaste for ‘libertine’ Boris Johnson
By Glen Owen Political Editor For The Mail On Sunday
In the words of one negotiator, it is the ‘Lutheran’s distaste for the libertine’ that has pushed Britain to the brink of a No Deal Brexit.
Diplomats say the ‘trust issue’ between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Boris Johnson came to a head during last week’s fraught talks, when British negotiators tried to break the deadlock by proposing a ‘tariffs for freedom’ arrangement.
Under the plan – to have been fleshed out at Wednesday’s meeting between Mr Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen over a dinner of scallops and turbot – the UK would have effectively been released from the responsibility to follow EU rules in return for accepting that duties would be slapped on British exports to the bloc.
Despite most of the world’s attention focusing on the noisier objections of French President Emmanuel Macron, it was Ms Merkel – the morally puritan daughter of a Lutheran clergyman – who played the most quietly influential role in the EU’s flat dismissal of the idea.
A source close to the British negotiating team said: ‘We thought this would be the moment. But they just weren’t interested. They won’t accept that Brexit means setting our own rules.
‘We could set up all sorts of dispute recognition systems to make sure the new plan was fair, but the root of the problem seems to be Merkel herself: she doesn’t trust Boris. They are very different people.’
Ms Merkel joined forces with Mr Macron to stymie the British negotiations with Ms von der Leyen, with the two leaders refusing to let Mr Johnson enter direct negotiations with them.
Despite most of the world’s attention focusing on the noisier objections of French President Emmanuel Macron (pictured on Saturday), it was Ms Merkel – the morally puritan daughter of a Lutheran clergyman – who played the most quietly influential role in the EU’s flat dismissal of the idea
Under the ‘bad cop, bad cop’ pincer movement, Mr Macron has also insisted on driving a hard bargain with the British, convinced that Mr Johnson would buckle and agree to the EU’s terms rather than endure the double-whammy of No Deal combined with the ongoing Covid crisis.
But the French President appears to have underestimated the influence of the PM’s Brexiteer backbenchers, who have made clear that any compromise on the basic principles of Brexit would lead to demands for a leadership contest.
No 10 officials admit to being taken aback by the inflexibility of Brussels’ position, which they attribute to ‘insecurity’ on the part of the EU. One said: ‘They are being so adamant about the need for us to stay fixed in their orbit, shackled by their rules, that it must mean they fear the UK becoming a nimble, low-tax, low-regulation Singapore-style economy on their doorstep, one which would be far more attractive to business.’
The symbolism of a post-Brexit Britain beating the EU to become the first Western country to approve and release the Pfizer vaccine last week was not lost on the negotiating teams.
Ms Merkel joined forces with Mr Macron (pictured together in July) to stymie the British negotiations with Ms von der Leyen, with the two leaders refusing to let Mr Johnson enter direct negotiations with them
The French and Germans were also bolstered by the Dutch and Belgian governments, which said they didn’t want a trade deal to be ‘rushed through’ without binding review clauses and legal scrutiny.
As the mood in the UK camp turned increasingly bleak, estimates of the chances of No Deal moved from 50-50 to closer to 80 per cent by last night.
Throughout the process, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove – a former journalist at The Times – has been scribbling the most doomsdayish headlines he could envisage at the end of talks.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove (pictured) – a former journalist at The Times – has been scribbling the most doomsdayish headlines he could envisage at the end of talks
One of his most alarming foresaw a ‘new Battle of Trafalgar’ if a No Deal outcome led to clashes with the French over access to British waters for their fishing fleets.
Yesterday – as a direct result of Mr Gove’s projections – it was announced that four Royal Navy vessels, armed with machine-guns and cannon, will be dispatched and given the power to arrest French and other EU fishermen who illegally enter British territorial waters if a trade deal is not agreed by December 31.
Wildcat and Merlin helicopters are also being placed on standby to help with surveillance. The endgame is under way.
DOUGLAS MURRAY: Authoritarian. Unyielding. Merkel gets it so wrong because her arrogance is boundless
By Douglas Murray For The Mail On Sunday
Most of us have been in no doubt over who is to blame for the obstacles and burning barricades blocking our route to a viable trade deal.
Emmanuel Macron, the sharp-suited, sharp-nosed President of France, has been in the vanguard of those wanting to punish Britain for daring to leave. Desperate to preserve the advantages enjoyed by French fishermen. Desperate to be the saviour of the whole European project.
However, Macron is by no means alone in conducting this unpleasant campaign of sabotage. For, as The Mail on Sunday explains today, his sensibly-suited counterpart in Germany, Angela Merkel, has played her own discreditable role.
It is Chancellor Merkel who has consistently presented herself as the voice of common sense and compromise.
Emmanuel Macron’s sensibly-suited counterpart in Germany, Angela Merkel, has played her own discreditable role in conducting this unpleasant campaign of trade deal sabotage, writes DOUGLAS MURRAY
Yet it is Merkel who has completely failed to understand Great Britain and misjudged it – and it is she who must take prime responsibility for the EU’s calamitous negotiating stance. It is, in part, a personal matter.
Angela Merkel is the daughter of a Lutheran pastor.
Known as Mutti – or Mummy – to voters, her formative years were in East Germany, the Communist state ruled over by the Stasi.
Like others, she belonged the Free German Youth (FDJ), the official communist youth movement.
Rectitude and certainty pour from her. And she has no time for Boris Johnson, a man she dismisses – with remarkable condescension – as no more than a dissembler and a libertine.
Emmanuel Macron, the sharp-suited, sharp-nosed President of France, has been in the vanguard of those wanting to punish Britain for daring to leave, writes DOUGLAS MURRAY
Despite his hug
- Now panic-buying shoppers form a massive queue outside a Superdrug 'to buy hand sanitiser' as government meets supermarket bosses to make sure UK doesn't run out of food
- Supermarket bosses plead for an end to panic buying: Third of shoppers admit stockpiling as stores are stripped bare and left 'looking like a riot zone' as customers scrabble for loo rolls, pasta and long-life milk
- Boris Johnson urges Brits to stay calm as supermarket shelves empty amid coronavirus fears after first British death
- Boris Johnson warns EU leaders this week is their final chance to secure a Brexit deal
- Senior conservative minster resigns, accusing Boris Johnson of an assault on democracy
- If the mask fits! O.J. Simpson dons a face mask for a trip to Costco where he panic buys toilet paper and water amid coronavirus fears
- Boris Johnson says he WON'T ban mass gatherings or close schools in fight against coronavirus as health experts say government plan is to LET the disease spread slowly through UK so country gets 'herd immunity'
- Ex-Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt blasts Boris Johnson's 'concerning' decision not to ban public events and wants end to care home visits as he says government is NOT doing enough to battle coronavirus 'national emergency'
- We shall fight them in the supermarkets (if we're not self-isolating): RICHARD LITTLEJOHN on Boris Johnson's response to Britain's coronavirus epidemic
- Supermarkets prepare for FOOD RIOTS as part of emergency plans to feed the nation as panic buying Brits strip shelves faster than they can be refilled.. but high streets and shopping centres are deserted
- The Queen 'considered stripping Harry and Meghan of Sussex titles and HRH but feared looking "petty"': New details of Megxit deal emerge as Duke has private 'catch-up' with Boris Johnson before heading to Canada
- Supermarkets will get deliveries through the NIGHT to stop shelves going bare over coronavirus panic buying
- Now online supermarket services are hit by coronavirus panic-buying as Ocado website goes down, Asda shoppers struggle and Tesco delivery slots are booked up days in advance
- Boris Johnson is accused of playing 'roulette with lives' as UK's EIGHTH coronavirus patient dies: PM urged to close schools, ban football matches and order country to work from home as WHO declares pandemic
- Brexit: Boris Johnson says 'no need' for UK to follow EU rules on trade
- Families could face food rationing as minister vows action if shoppers continue to panic-buy
- Coronavirus: Are people panic-buying?
- Feature: UK stores struck by panic buying as COVID-19 cases surge
- WHO calls out the UK for scaling back coronavirus testing and issues stark warning to governments 'not to just let this fire burn' in thinly-veiled swipe at Boris Johnson's handling of deadly outbreak
- Anxious shoppers wait on line for hours outside of stores to stockpile water, toilet paper and cleaning supplies as coronavirus panic buying continues across the country
'The message is that it is No Deal': Supermarkets told to begin preparing for panic-buying as the likelihood of a hard Brexit 'hits 80%' as Boris Johnson takes personal control of preparations with trade talks with the EU due to expire TODAY have 4445 words, post on www.dailymail.co.uk at December 13, 2020. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.