UK ministers warn supermarkets to stockpile food on no-deal Brexit fears

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A man wearing an EU flag-themed beret and carrying an EU flag is seen on Whitehall in central London on December 11, 2020. (AFP photo)

Supermarkets in the United Kingdom have been warned to stockpile food as talks to reach a deal between the UK and the EU have so far been unsuccessful.

British ministers have told suppliers of medicines, medical devices and vaccines to stockpile six weeks' worth at secure locations in the country as Brexit negotiations remain deadlocked, The Sunday Times newspaper reported.

If London chooses no deal, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will take control of planning and chair an exit operations committee to prepare the response, the newspaper added.

On Friday, Johnson and the president of the EU’s executive Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said a “no-deal” was now the most likely result.

Negotiators held talks in Brussels Saturday, but the talks were very difficult and “as things stand, the offer on the table from the EU remains unacceptable”.

“The prime minister will leave no stone unturned in this process, but he is absolutely clear: any agreement must be fair and respect the fundamental position that the UK will be a sovereign nation in three weeks’ time,” a source told Reuters.

The two sides have until the evening on Sunday to resolve an impasse on arrangements that could guarantee the UK zero-tariff and zero-quota access to the EU’s single market.

Johnson and von der Leyen will get in touch later in the day to decide whether to stop the negotiations or continue efforts to strike a deal.

The UK will automatically leave Europol on January 01, 2021 and even in the event of an agreement “operational-partner” or “third-party” status is the best that British security officials can expect from their EU counterparts.

This diminished status places the UK on the same level as the United States, Norway and Australia, which means reduced access to sensitive data and much less influence within Europol.

In addition, the UK would also lose access to the Schengen Information System, a database that provides real-time alerts for police and border force on 35,000 people wanted under a European Arrest Warrant.

Hopes of a wide-ranging trade agreement between the UK and the EU plunged dramatically after Johnson said Friday the chances of a no-deal Brexit are “very, very likely”.

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