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Travel delays and admin hassle after no-deal says leak

A leaked official dossier on the impacts of a no-deal Brexit warns of likely delays at airports and ports and complications for Britons abroad in the EU.

The dossier, compiled by Cabinet Office civil servants and codenamed Operation Yellowhammer, says UK citizens travelling to and from the EU may be subject to increased immigration checks at borders, which may lead to passenger delays at Saint-Pancras (Eurostar), Cheriton (Channel Tunnel) and Dover.

Depending on what EU countries do to cope with increased checks, it is likely that delays will also occur for those arriving in EU countries from the UK, as well as those departing EU countries to return to the UK and “this could cause some disruption on transport services”, the report says.

Meanwhile the report notes that no bilateral agreements are in place between the UK and EU states regarding rights of UK citizens living abroad in the EU and their rights will differ depending on laws passed by each EU state.

“UK nationals will lose their EU citizenship and can expect to lose association rights and access to services over time, or be required to access them on a different basis,” the report says.

In the case of France, laws have been passed in France safeguarding key rights, however they are conditional on French people in the UK obtaining similar rights. Britons would have a year to obtain new cartes de séjour as non-EU citizens.

Some issues, including the right for British state pensioners to continue accessing French healthcare as now, may be subject to a future bilateral agreement. The French no-deal law says their cover would continue for two years in the meantime.

The report adds: “Complex administrative procedures within member states, language barriers and uncertainty regarding the UK political situation are contributing to some UK nationals being slow to take action.

“Demands for help on Her Majesty’s government will increase significantly, including an increase in consular inquiries and more complex and time-consuming consular assistance cases for vulnerable UK nationals.”

Civil service insiders are quoted today in the UK press saying the report was meant to present a realistic picture of the impact of no-deal, however the UK minister Michael Gove, responsible for no-deal planning, said on the contrary it represents a ‘worst-case’ scenario.

Mr Gove also said it is also out of date because there has been increased investment and planning to prepare for no-deal under the new Johnson government.

The UK press also quotes Number 10 insiders having hit out at the leak, blaming a former May-era minister for leaking it in a bid to undermine Mr Johnson as he travels to the continent this week.

Mr Johnson will meet the German chancellor on Wednesday and is to meet President Macron on Thursday.

Previous articles

What would no-deal mean for Britons in France? 

No-deal Brexit decree sets out carte de séjour rules for Britons in France 

What to do to get ready for Brexit

For Brexit coverage generally, see our dedicted website section which includes scores of pages of links to Brexit articles (some restricted to subscribers) and our printed newspaper each month.

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