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LONDON: December 19, 2018. UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove, a staunch Brexiteer, has acknowledged that UK food prices will rise after March 2019 next year as a result of post-Brexit congestion at the Port of Dover (pictured).

His admission follows publication by the European Commission (EC) of transport plans in the event of a ‘no deal’ on the proposed Withdrawal Agreement between Britain and the European Union.

Port of dover reefer containersThe Commission says it will support “the provision of certain air services” for 12 months after Britain leaves the Union without agreement – assuming they are reciprocated by the UK government – and a nine-month allowance for UK truck operators to import goods into Britain – subject to the same reciprocity and “fair competition” conditions.

In a no deal scenario, all relevant EU Customs legislation on UK/EU imports and exports delivered by sea surrounding the UK will continue to apply, including time-limits for entry summary declarations and pre-departure declarations.

The EC adds: “It is essential, however, that Member States take all the necessary steps to be in a position to apply the Union Customs Code and the relevant rules regarding indirect taxation in relation to the United Kingdom.”

With the failure of the UK Parliament and Tory government to agree on prime minister Theresa May’s plan to leave the EU, the UK government is now implementing emergency plans for the future provision of food and medicines.

In response, the EC is urging Member States to also prepare for two possible outcomes: If the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified before March 30, 2019, EU law will cease to apply to, and in, the UK on January 01 2021, i.e. after a transition period of 21 months during which the EU Single Market and Customs Union will still apply.

However, continues the EC: “If the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified before 30 March 2019, there will be no transition period and EU law will cease to apply to and in the UK as of 30 March 2019. This is referred to as the ‘no deal’ or ‘cliff-edge’ scenario.”

As a notably supporter of Brexit and continued member of the British government’s inner circle of ministers, Gove has equal responsibility for taking the UK over the “cliff edge” in less than 100 days.

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