BBC Breakfast’s top story of the morning was the release of Operation Yellowhammer and the details within the paper which explained the contingency plans for a reasonable worse case scenario should Britain leave the European Union on October 31 with a no deal.
Joining Charlie Stayt and Louise Minchin on a live video link was Defence Secretary Ben Wallace who wasted no time in making it clear, exactly what the document was about.
During the interview, Stayt tried to suggest the government would become one of “brinkmanship”, but Wallace shut him down and revealed explicit details of the report, and why a no deal Brexit is nothing for the country to worry about.
Stayt began by asking: “What element of Yellowhammer concerns you the most?
Wallace said: “Well I think what would concern me most, these are assumptions, whether it’s worse case or base case, these are assumptions and you need to add into that, ‘and if the government then did nothing about it’.
“So this is a planning document where we make assumptions it will be constantly update with what happens if nothing is reached, if no deal happens in Europe, or if indeed a deal happens, or we do no cover some of those issues, we use those assumptions to plan mitigations.
“And that’s the bit that’s been lost by people; this is the assumption, what we’re doing about it is dealt with every single day, cross Whitehall, led by Michael Gove MP to make sure we find alternative sources, bring in extra capabilities and do things to make a difference,” the MP added.
“So on that basis, are we fully prepared or slightly less than that?” Stayt remarked.
“We are on track to be full prepared for a no deal Brexit on October 31,” Wallace stated confidently, but Stayt continued to grill: “When will we be fully prepared?”
“Well, I think it depends on all the different assumptions. There are loads of different parts of that planning document, some things we will trigger closer to the time,” the guest commented.
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“For example, whether we bring in extra capacity we have already sourced for ferries, deploy extra police or more people on the border, those things will be decided in the closing weeks or days to October 31 on Brexit day.”
Interrupting him, Stayt declared: “It sounds like brinkmanship?” And Wallace shut him down immediately: “No, it’s not brinkmanship.”
Stayt added: “You may have come on air this morning to try and reassure people, but this sounds like brinkmanship.
“You’re saying ‘we might put something in place a couple of weeks before.”
But Wallace was determined to make the details of Operation Yellowhammer clear. He said: “No it’s not brinkmanship, we have marshalled the alternatives, we have put in place what we need to do to mitigate those assumptions.
“Of course we don’t need to have empty ferries loitering off Dover in case, but we need to make sure we know where we can get them if we need them, if that was to be an issue.
“We know where we have the soldiers and the police, they are marshalled and ready to go, should they need to be deployed but we don’t need to use them right now.
“What we do, we get our ducks in a row to meet those planning assumptions, so on Brexit those assumptions should not in the vast majority happen at all because we have worked on alternatives.”
Stayt didn’t have a comeback answer instead he changed the subject.
It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson was ordered to publish the documents after a motion, led by Dominic Grieve, saw MPs vote 311 to 301 in favour of the release.
Read the key points of the Operation Yellowhammer documents here.
BBC Breakfast airs every morning at 6am on BBC One.