Brexit Readiness: Operation Yellowhammer

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 25th September 2019.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster 3:31 pm, 25th September 2019

I am grateful to the Chairman of the Exiting the European Union Committee for making that point. Let me stress again that Operation Yellowhammer is a reasonable worst-case scenario. The scenarios that it outlines are those that would happen if no mitigation steps were taken. However, he is right to say that Northern Ireland businesses would face specific challenges in the event of a no-deal exit as a result of having to face a common external tariff. Indeed, agri-food businesses across the UK would face those challenges. There are steps that we can take—economic interventions and others—to help those businesses, and it is important that we do so. It is also important that we continue our conversations with the European Commission and the Irish Government about making sure that the position of businesses and individuals in Northern Ireland is safeguarded.

The right hon. Gentleman made a broader point about no deal. A deal is preferable, which is why I hope that he will vote for one in the future, having not been able to do so in the past.