The government is under pressure to release papers outlining a “Doomsday Brexit” scenario in which the UK would run short of medicines, food and fuel within two weeks of leaving the EU.
Whitehall officials are reported to have drawn up three different scenarios for a cross-government group preparing for Britain’s departure from the EU.
According to the Sunday Times, these include mild and severe scenarios of the UK leaving the bloc without a deal, while a further scenario is known as “Armageddon”.
A source told the newspaper: “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.”
They 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 documents are said to have been written for the Inter-Ministerial Group on Preparedness by civil servants at the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU), Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Transport.
They were leaked by officials concerned by Brexiteers’ confidence about the UK’s prospects if it left the EU without a deal, the newspaper said.
A Whitehall source told Sky News that “inevitably the government has been discussing a range of scenarios”, adding: “It’s something that’s been discussed extensively.”
They pointed to how the government have already invested almost £700m in Brexit preparations, with another £3bn made available by the Treasury.
The government recently revealed plans to section off a 13-mile stretch of the M20 in Kent, which leads to the port of Dover, to hold around 2,000 lorries in the event of severe cross-Channel congestion.
The plan is to be delivered in time for Britain’s departure from the EU, although the government denies any direct connection with Brexit.
Responding to the reported civil service warnings about a no-deal Brexit, Home Secretary Sajid Javid told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “I’m very confident we’ll get a deal, but it’s right we look at no deal and all these different scenarios.
“But I don’t recognise any of that. From the work that I have seen and the analysis that has been done, those outcomes… I don’t think any of them would come to pass.”
A DExEU spokesperson rejected the claims as “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.”
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, a prominent Brexiteer, accused civil servants of being “frozen in the headlights” about the UK’s exit from the EU.
“They should be planning for what happens if there is no deal, not scaring the pants off each other,” he told the Sunday Times.
“We need people with imagination and courage, not frightened rabbits.”
Pro-Remain MPs have demanded the government release details of its considerations of the impact of a no-deal Brexit.
Tory backbencher Sarah Wollaston highlighted how the House of Commons health committee, which she chairs, has previously warned of “serious consequences” of a no-deal Brexit.
She said: “Why risk everyday essential medical supplies not being on the shelves? We still need to see the evidence of actual vs fantasy contingency planning.”
Dr Wollaston described remaining in the EU’s single market and “an effective customs union” with the bloc as the “least harmful” Brexit option.
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, a supporter of the Best for Britain group, who are expected to campaign for a second EU referendum, said: “The government should publish this document and stop pretending it doesn’t exist.
“This drives a stake through any remaining pretence of government competence. This is no joke. Our public services face the prospect of collapse if a ‘no deal’ Brexit happens.
“We can now see that the government are driving us all towards disaster. What is worse is that they know it too.”