Yesterday, Theresa May announced in Parliament that more than 6,000 civil servants were currently working to prepare for the possibility of a No Deal Brexit – and today, some more details about it have been carelessly leaked into the public sphere. So carelessly, it seems convenient.
Political editor for the BBC, Laura Kuenssberg, tweeted out a photograph of a document that appeared to be peeking out of the bag of a Downing Street aide…but it wasn’t an aide. We’ve since found out that it was actually John Glen, Treasury Minister. Either he’s in a lot of trouble tonight, or he’s trying to show the world that the government is prepared.
The photograph clearly shows the front page of a briefing document which is titled “Operation Yellow Hammer: no deal contingency planning.”
But what does it reveal?
Well, first of all it reveals that government departments are being advised to begin making cuts and to begin “internal reprioritization.” The document also explains that the government must “maintain confidence in the event of contingency plans being triggered,“ which they say is “particularly important for financial services.”
Nothing in it appears all that terrible. If the prospects of No Deal were so terrifying, I’d have expected much more to have been revealed – but Operation Yellowhammer appears to be a pretty mundane and bog-standard plan of action. It tells of a two-day workshop that reviewed departmental plans and shows that the government is properly planning to prepare for us to begin trading on WTO rules and leaving the EU without a deal.
With Operation Yellowhammer revealed, and Theresa May’s announcement that thousands of civil servants are working to prepare, could it be that the Prime Minister is finally realizing the EU doesn’t want her Chequers deal?