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Thu, 1 October 2020

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Philip Hammond demands apology from Number 10 over accusation he leaked Operation Yellowhammer documents

Philip Hammond demands apology from Number 10 over accusation he leaked Operation Yellowhammer documents
2 min read

Philip Hammond has demanded an apology from Downing Street after he was accused of leaking documents warning about the impact of a no-deal Brexit.

The former Chancellor said Number 10 had briefed that the Operation Yellowhammer dossier was “deliberately leaked by a former minister in an attempt to influence discussion with EU leaders”.

In a letter to Boris Johnson, posted to Twitter on Sunday, he wrote: “The clear implication was that a minister in the last government had retained, and then leaked, a copy of this document.

“The media has speculated accordingly on the source of the document.”

Mr Hammond tweeted: “It has now become apparent that the Operation Yellowhammer document leaked last week was dated August 2019, and was not ‘old’.”

He added that it “would not, therefore, have been available to any former Minister who is not serving in the current administration”.

The Tory MP added: “Accordingly, I am writing on behalf of all former ministers in the last administration to ask you to withdraw these allegations which question our integrity, acknowledges that mo for minister could have leaked this document, and apologise to the misleading briefing from Number 10.”

The Operation Yellowhammer files warned Britain would face shortages of food, fuel and medicine as well as a hard border with Ireland if it leaves the EU without a deal on 31 October.

They were dismissed by minister Kwasi Kwarteng as “scaremongering” - before adding that “a lot of people are playing into Project Fear”.

But The Sunday Times are reporting that ministers may be forced to publish up-to-date reports on the expected impact of a no-deal scenario when Parliament returns next month.

Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, told the newspaper Labour would “not hesitate to use all parliamentary devices available” to compel the Government to publish all the Operation Yellowhammer documents if it does not do so voluntarily.

In a letter to Michael Gove, the Cabinet minister in charge of no-deal preparations, he said this would include a 'humble address' to the Queen.

This was the tactic Labour successfully used to force Theresa May to publish the full legal advice on her Brexit deal earlier this year.

Number 10 has been approached for a response.


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