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24th Jul 2018

Worry not! Brexit secretary promises the UK will have an ‘adequate food supply’ if no deal is reached


Oli Dugmore

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 09: Dominic Raab leaves Number 10 Downing Street after being appointed Brexit Secretary by British Prime Minster Theresa May on July 9, 2018 in London, England. Last night David Davis quit as Brexit Secretary over his opposition to Mrs May's plan for the UK's future relations with the EU. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)


Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has promised to ensure that “there is adequate food supply” if the UK plummets out of the European Union without reaching a deal.

The newly appointed cabinet minister’s reassuring words came during a grilling by the Brexit select committee, spearheaded by Hilary Benn.

Two days ago Raab refused to be drawn on whether the country was stockpiling food in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario – meaning the UK leaving the EU without having reached an agreement on trade, immigration and indeed everything else that links our country to the regional bloc.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 08: Justice minister Dominic Raab gives a speech at the 'Vote Leave' campaign headquarters in Westminster on June 8, 2016 in London, England. Mr Raab was today joined by Justice Secretary Michael Gove as they made a case for Britain leaving the European Union on the basis of increased border control and security. Britain will go to the polls in a referendum on the 23rd of June on whether or not to leave the European Union. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Raab’s refusal lead to accusations he was keeping the public in the dark about the severity of this potential outcome, but today he revealed that stockpiling plans were being put into place by the food industry in case negotiations fail.

The Brexit secretary said he does not intend to “drip feed” out information and will instead publish a series of “technical notices” over the summer, “explaining what we are doing to mitigate the risks, while giving the full picture so that whether it’s farmers or citizens or other businesses, they understand what their position is and what support we will provide.”

“It would be wrong to describe it as the government doing the stockpiling,” he said. “What we will make sure, and the idea that we only get food imports from one continent is not appropriate, but we will look at this issue in the round and make sure there is adequate food supply”.

“I’m not going to give more detail until I can set it out in a responsible and full fashion.”

Which, in fairness, is quite a reasonable thing to say after having been in the job for only two weeks.

Earlier today Theresa May announced that UK would remain under EU law for 21 months longer than expected. Instead of repealing 1972’s European Communities Act on Brexit Day (??), the legislative rebuking will take place at the end of 2020.