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Gibraltar government calms fears after Yellowhammer report

The leaked report caused concern about crossing the border.
The leaked report caused concern about crossing the border. / SUR
  • Picardo says the potential issues arising from a no-deal Brexit were identified by Gibraltar some time ago and have been resolved

Following the publication by the Sunday Times of a leaked UK government report into the consequences of a no-deal Brexit, the Gibraltar government quickly issued a statement saying that it wasn't what it seemed.

The report, part of Operation Yellowhammer contingency plans for a civil emergency, referred to problems arising such as four-hour queues to cross the border, a shortage of food and medicines in Gibraltar and problems with waste disposal. It caused considerable alarm, but the government insisted that it was "out of date" and "wrong".

In the statement, and also during interviews with local and international media, chief minister Fabian Picardo pointed out that these were worst-case scenarios which the Gibraltar authorities had themselves identified some time ago and notified to the UK government, and had then worked on to resolve them. That had now been done, he insisted, saying that Gibraltar does not want a no-deal Brexit, but is prepared for it if it happens.

However, he also made the point during one interview that it is quite possible, with regard to the UK's Brexit planning, that there are things nobody has foreseen or even realised were associated with Britain's membership of the EU, and if that is the case then there could be a few surprises in store in general on 1 November.

With regard to concerns about potential delays at the border, Picardo said in a later statement that Gibraltar has been working with the UK and Spain to address a no-deal situation, especially given how those issues would affect frontier flow, using the Memoranda of Understanding as a non-legally binding basis if there is no Withdrawal Agreement.