Under a ‘doomsday’ scenario sketched out by civil servants in David Davis’ Brexit department, petrol pumps would run out of fuel within weeks and the RAF would be drafted in to airlift medical supplies into the UK.
Civil servants have reportedly been preparing for a no-deal Brexit that would see trade at the port of Dover “collapse”, cutting the UK off from the continent.
The Department for Exiting the EU rejected the secret analysis, leaked to the Sunday Times, saying that “none of this would come to pass”.
A source told the Times: "In the second scenario, not even the worst, the port of Dover will collapse on day one. The supermarkets in Cornwall and Scotland will run out of food within a couple of days, and hospitals will run out of medicines within two weeks."
The source added: "You would have to medevac medicine into Britain, and at the end of week two we would be running out of petrol as well.”
The papers are understood to have been prepared for the Inter-Ministerial Group on Preparedness, which meets weekly. Only a handful of ministers have seen the documents, which are normally “locked in a safe”, according to the Times.
A Dexeu spokesman said the reports were "completely false", adding: "A significant amount of work and decision-making has gone into our no-deal plans, especially where it relates to ports, and we know that none of this would come to pass."
The UK Government has reportedly been given two weeks to clarify its stance on post-Brexit customs and trade, ahead of an EU summit this month.
Arlene Foster, the leader of the DUP, has rejected the latest suggestion from Mr Davis’ department to try and break the deadlock over customs and the Irish border, which would have seen a 10-mile ‘buffer zone’ straddling the boundary between Northern Ireland and the Republic.