Gibraltar downplays the Yellowhammer report, saying it is seriously out of date

Fabian Picardo, speaking at National Day on 10 September.
Fabian Picardo, speaking at National Day on 10 September. / EFE
  • The Rock's government says it doesn't want a no-deal Brexit but is prepared

The UK government reluctantly released what it said were its contingency plans for Brexit, the so-called Operation Yellowhammer document, on Wednesday night.

However it consisted of just a few pages and not the lengthy summary of the situation in the case of a no-deal Brexit which many were expecting, leading to claims that there is actually a lot more to it which had not been revealed. Nevertheless, what there was caused considerable alarm.

The section about Gibraltar sounded particularly damning.

"Gibraltar, due to the imposition of border checks at its border with Spain (and the knock-on effect of delays from UK to EU), will see disruption to supply of goods (including food), medicines, trans-frontier shipment of waste and delays of 4+ hours for at least a few months in the movement of frontier workers, residents and tourists across the border. Prolonged border delays over the longer term are likely to adversely affect Gibraltar's economy. Like the UK mainland, cross-border services and data flow will also be disrupted. Despite the time extension to EU Exit, Gibraltar has still not taken decisions to invest in contingency infrastructure (port adjustments; waste management equipment) and there are still concerns that Gibraltar will not have passed all necessary legislation for no deal, opening up potential legal gaps/risks mainly for the Government of Gibraltar. Gibraltar continues to plan for less significant border delays than our Yellowhammer scenario," it reads.

Gibraltar's chief minister, Fabian Picardo, was quick to respond, posting on Twitter the same evening: "The Yellowhammer doc released tonight by the UK Government is, insofar as it relates to #Gibraltar, the out of date one published by the Sunday Times some weeks ago. All matters raised in it have been advanced and addressed since long before. But no deal is not a good deal for Gib."

At the time of the Sunday Times leaked document, the Gibraltar government explained that the points raised in the Yellowhammer report were potential problems which could arise in the case of a no-deal Brexit, which it itself had identified a long time beforehand and notified to the UK, and that action had immediately been taken to resolve them. The Gibraltar authorities said they do not want a no-deal Brexit, but are ready.