A newly-published Brexit consultancy agreement warned of “severe consequences” if contingency plans are not diligently followed by civil servants. The report on “successful mitigation of risks of EU Exit”, was compiled by Ernst & Young after it was paid £458,000 by the Ministry of Justice in January. The document, seen by politico.eu, said: “Not progressing these actions plans could have severe consequences for MoJ Operations, e.g. unrest in prison because of undersupply of foods or medicines.
“A clear understanding of the ‘real’ operational impact of a ‘no deal’ is necessary to prioritise mitigation actions. Refining the focus of planning efforts is imperative to ensure that the most critical contracts can continue undisrupted post EU Exit.”
The “Project Fear” warning comes just days after Scotland’s Brexit secretary Mike Russell was accused of inciting panic when he said he “can’t absolutely guarantee” medical supplies will be available in a no-deal scenario.
The SNP MSP was blasted by the president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Professor Ash Soni, who said his comments would lead to people stockpiling drugs which could lead to a shortage in medicines.
Prof Soni told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland: “I think trying to scare the public is not a great thing to be doing at this moment in time.”
The monitor’s report laid bare last week was wrongly edited before being published, with resulted in the names of those working on the contract being made public.
It stated that the professional services company, headquartered in London, would work with the MoJ and other government departments on contingency planning for Brexit, be it a no-deal scenario or a soft exit.
A spokesperson for the MoJ said the purpose of the contract and wider planning “is to minimise disruption to the justice system”.
They said: “The government has responsibly been preparing for ‘no deal’ for the last three years, including to ensure the continued supply of food and medicines in such an event.”
As of June 2019, there are 82,676 adults in prisons across England and Wales, 8,205 in Scotland and 1,487 in Northern Ireland.
There are hundreds more juveniles in secure training centres.
Last year Lord Woolf, a former lord chief justice of England and Wales, compared the state of jails to that in the run up to the notorious Manchester Strangeways riot of 1990.
The 25-day protests resulted in two deaths and scores of injuries.