No-deal Brexit ‘could lead to temporary shortages of seasonal produce’ in Britain

A no-deal Brexit could lead to temporary food shortages of seasonal produce in the UK, a former adviser to Environment Secretary Michael Gove has warned.

James Starkie, who quit his role in protest over Theresa May’s withdrawal deal, said people would not go without the food they need on a weekly basis if Britain crashed out of the European Union.

But he warned it was “possible” that certain seasonal foods which come directly from the continent could be impacted by potential blockages at the Port of Dover.

There are concerns about produce coming through the Port of Dover (Gareth Fuller/PA)

He told BBC Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster a no-deal exit was “not without challenges”, but dismissed “project fear” stories warning that the UK could run out of clean water in such an event.

He said: “It’s not without challenges and I think it’s right that the Government, particularly through the technical notices last summer, let businesses and the public know that these are some of the things that we will have to deal with in a no-deal scenario.

“I would never play down and say ‘oh it’s all easy, everything’s going to be exactly the same’. However, I do think a properly managed no-deal, leaving on a World Trade Organisation scenario is manageable.”

Asked whether there would be food shortages as a result of delays in Dover, Mr Starkie said: “I think that it’s possible that certain types of food that are seasonable and come directly from the continent could be impacted to a limited degree.

“What I don’t think is going to happen is that in any way people are not going to be able to get the food they need on a weekly basis and that there will be a shortage of food in that way.”

- Press Association

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