Mike Russell writes letter to David Davis over Brexit ‘food shortage’ claims

The UK Government must be open about its assessment of the potential impact of Brexit, Michael Russell, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe, has said.

Mr Russell has today written to David Davis, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, following press reports on a UK Government paper warning of possible shortages in food, medicines and petrol following a no-deal Brexit.

He reaffirms the Scottish Government position that the UK Government should rule out a no-deal outcome, and for the devolved administrations to be fully involved in contingency planning.

The text of the letter is as follows:

“I have read with concern the report in yesterday’s Sunday Times of a confidential assessment by the UK Government of the impact of the UK leaving the EU with no agreement.

“The picture that the article paints of the immediate adverse consequences for supplies of food, medicines and fuel is alarming but not at all surprising for those of us who have been warning of the dangers of complacency about “no deal” scenarios. The UK Government must now make a categorical commitment that it will rule out a no deal outcome.

“It is also, of course, becoming ever more clear that the consequences of leaving the EU even with an agreement will be long-term damage to the interest of all parts of the UK.

“The article and the commentary that it is has prompted, including criticism of the civil service for apparently doing its job, illustrate the need for the UK Government to be open about its assessments of the impact in all scenarios, with or without an agreement with the EU. It cannot be right to expect the public to support Brexit as a matter of blind faith in a climate where talk of risks or adverse consequences is suppressed. Nor should decisions about the UK’s approach to be taken without fully informed democratic scrutiny.

“The article also highlights the need for the devolved governments to be fully involved in the UK Government’s contingency planning. Food security and the operation of the Health Service and the Scottish transport system are central to the responsibilities of the Scottish Government. It is essential to the interests of all those we serve that we are meaningfully engaged in your planning on these and a wide range of other matters.

“I trust that there will be an opportunity for us to discuss as a matter of urgency how that can be made to happen, and I would therefore ask that this issue be added to the agenda of the next meeting of JMC (EN).”

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7 thoughts on “Mike Russell writes letter to David Davis over Brexit ‘food shortage’ claims

  1. Richard James Robertson

    Away to plant some tatties, rescue the bike from the shed and take a first aid course – Better together indeed.

  2. bringiton

    Brexit means Brexit which translates as no debate,no scrutiny,no accountability.
    Mike Russell is right to point out the problems of food shortages facing Scots,despite our country being a net exporter of food but being dependent on English infrastructure and processing before it reaches “our” supermarket shelves.
    As a person with a chronic health condition,I noticed that my latest batch of medicine was produced in the Czech republic.
    Failure to get this medicine on time,for those with life threatening conditions,will have immediate and fatal consequences.
    Brexit means a lot more to me than simply an empty sound bite and I hope my fellow Scots waken up to what England’s Tories are going to do to us before it is too late.

  3. Robert Graham

    Oh dear dont confuse Davis anymore than he and the Tory Party are already , it will be alright on the night won’t wash anymore , fingers crossed anit any use either .

    I believe but it could be a myth in the days when england had an empire it was Scots who actually ran and made it function , the absence of people with some kind of negotiating experience is self evident .

    The shambles that is the whole Brexit debacle points to one thing this Tory government are prepairing everyone for no deal they cant figure out the detail of so many areas of dispute and with a divided cabinet full of conflicting views its not looking very encouraging , with a suggested snap election on the horizon confusion reigns .

  4. john

    Why all true Scots are not out on the streets screaming for independence I’ll never know . How stupid do you have to be to entrust you life and livelihood to a bunch of spineless Better Together colonialists in England . Time to stand up and reject this continual pillaging of Scotland and her wealth . We don’t matter to them , they just use us as a pawn in their power games . In the colonizers eyes we are : too wee , too stupid , too poor . Non of the aforementioned is anywhere near the truth . We can do better , much better as an independent country !

    1. Jockanese Wind Talker

      “Why all true Scots are not out on the streets screaming for independence I’ll never know . How stupid do you have to be…”

      They aren’t stupid, John.

      They are uninformed, kept in the dark and lied to daily about the monumental Brexit clusterfuck careering headlong out of control down the track towards them and the Scottish Governments attempts to protect them from it.

      BritNat Broadcasting Corporation and a compliant Non-Dom owned, Tory supporting MSM are to blame for them being oblivious to the facts.

      Remember the “UK Governments EU Withdrawal Bill isn’t of interest to the Scottish public and is about food labels and other boring stuff” according to Toodleoothenoo, Brewer, the Burd etc.

      Get the word out via the alternative media.

      Don’t pay the Propaganda Tax.

      Volunteer to help your local Yes group.

      Slowly but surely more people are seeing the truth of this unequal Union.

  5. Alasdair Macdonald

    It is noteworthy how little coverage this report has had despite it being published in the Rupert Murdoch owned Sunday Times.

    Here is a potentially existential threat to a fairly large section of the population and, yet, other than the ‘What is in the Papers?’ pieces on the broadcast media, it has not had the kind of across the media coverage of, say, the bare chest of an actor who portrays a fictional character in a forthcoming TV series.

    Credibility of the media is very low and we have had so many Projects Fear – from all sides – that most people simply shrug. They know that there is something pretty serious going on – 17 million voted for something they thought was to do with the EU – but, because, as Jockanese Wind Talker indicates, we are ‘uninformed’. And, uninformed or, more accurately ‘misinformed’, is what those behind Brexit want us to be.

    The Sunday Times piece could be a piece by ‘soft brexiteers’ or by ‘another referendum’ supporters, but it could also be by the hard brexiteers because they know that panic can swing some people into the ‘fuck the foreigners’ camp.

    The Scottish Government, and, to be fair, the Scottish Parliament, other than the Ruth Davidson Party, has been one of the few bodies to try to ask insightful questions and to seek answers.

  6. William Ross


    No-one in government recognises the Sunday Times article report. It is just speculation, fed no doubt by the same people who assured us that if we voted Leave we would see the collapse of the FTSE, the collapse of the London property market, the technical recession, the flight of the bankers to Dublin, the 500,000 lost jobs, the end of civilization and the beginning of the Third World War. Yes, there is a lot of Project Fear going around.

    Now ask yourself some basic questions: are we wholly reliant on the EU for medicine and food? Only some 10% of our GDP derives from EU trade. Why would anyone in their right mind wish to stop trading with the UK? What sort of organisation would even contemplate doing that? Not a club I would want to be in.

    I am an oilman, and I negotiate deals. I have a lifetime of negotiation experience. Look at what Mike Russell is urging on the UK: rule out no deal. The very basic principle of all successful negotiation is that you MUST preserve your right to walk away. Fail to do that and you will be taken to the cleaners. Frankly, Russell is an embarrassment.


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