The government fears a no-deal Brexit could lead to prison riots because of food and medicine shortages, it has been reported.
A leaked section of a government document revealed fears of “severe consequences” if a contingency plan for leaving the EU without a deal is not in place.
The concerns were published by the Politico website, who have seen redacted parts of a Brexit consultancy agreement awarded to Ernst & Young at the beginning of this year, but finally published this week.
Sections which should have been cut from the document were instead published, revealing fears of prison riots.
They detailed how Ernst & Young would work with the government to push forward contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit or one based on a withdrawal deal, Politico said.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the document read: “Not progressing these actions plans could have severe consequences for MoJ Operations, e.g. unrest in prison because of undersupply of foods or medicines.”
It added: “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 link to the document was later deleted from the government’s contract database, Politico reported.
Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon told the website: “This shocking revelation is yet more evidence of the threat a no-deal Brexit poses to our justice system.
"From ending access to the European Arrest Warrant, to our prisons being up for grabs by American corporations in a post-Brexit US trade deal, it is clear that a no-deal Brexit risks further damaging our justice system which has already been weakened by nearly a decade of cruel Tory austerity.”
Former justice minister and Tory MP Phillip Lee, a supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said: “It’s clear that no deal would be disastrous for our country, and it would be a democratic outrage for any prime minister to try and force this on us without the consent of the people.
“Botched redactions like this just show how desperate the government has become.
“No one voted for unrest in prisons, shortages of food supplies or any of the other indignities that could result from a disastrous no deal. This is yet another example of how the Brexit being delivered is a million miles away from the one that was being promised in 2016."
Last week, justice secretary David Gauke warned that a no-deal Brexit risked “significant impacts across the justice system, including potential disruption to goods and services to our prisons”.