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84 areas of UK life likely to be hit in no-deal Brexit scenario

Staff Writer |
The scale of potential disruption from a no-deal Brexit became clear as a leaked British government document listed areas of concern ranging from driving licences to pet passports.

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Among the 84 topics the British government is planning to issue advice to businesses and the public about are aviation safety, food labelling, maritime security and workplace rights.

At the same time the head of the British pharmaceutical industry association, Mike Thompson, said Brexit should be treated as "a health security issue" because of the risk of drugs becoming unavailable in some countries.

Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen warned early Friday that the chances of a no-deal Brexit were around 50-50 and he called for more "effort" by Britain and the European Union to secure an agreement this autumn.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was criticised by Brexiteers Thursday night for saying a "messy and ugly" divorce would be harmful.

Hunt clarified his remarks with a tweet on Friday morning that said Britain would "survive and prosper" even in a no-deal situation, but warned that "it would be a big mistake for Europe because of the inevitable impact on long-term partnership with UK."

This came as the 84 topics where the British government plans to issue papers setting out consequences and preparations for no-deal were leaked to Buzzfeed.

Downing Street plans to publish the papers in batches, starting next week, to try to avoid accusations that it has embarked on a Project Fear operation.

Brexit relations hit a new low on Wednesday after Brussels refused to deny that EU negotiators have raised concerns that they are being spied on by the British intelligence agency, MI6.

The European Commission declined to comment on the reports that British intelligence assets are suspected of being used to give the UK an upper hand in Brexit talks.

It was reported that officials first suspected they were being bugged after the UK obtained sensitive documents "within hours" of them being presented to EU officials last month.

The news came as British negotiators head to Brussels on Thursday to resume two days of technical Brexit talks, although little progress is expected to be made on substantive issues until Autumn.

Hunt visited countries in northern Europe this week to seek support for the Chequers proposal, masterminded by British Prime Minister Theresa May in early July, from those who see Britain as a key military ally.

On his return, the foreign secretary made clear that the British government would accept European environmental and social legislation if it led to a free trade agreement.

"I'm getting a strong sense that, not just in Holland but in many of the places that I've visited, they do want to engage seriously to try and find a way through to try and get a pragmatic outcome," he told ITV News.

Asked about claims that Brussels negotiators were being bugged by British spies, he said, "Foreign secretaries never comment on such matters but you are a journalist and you don't have any trouble finding out what is going on in those meetings, just like you have no problems in finding out what's happening in our London meetings."

Formal Brexit talks resumed in Brussels between UK and EU officials on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said there was a "very considerable risk" of a no-deal scenario, but stressed he was optimistic that the sides could come together.

British Chancellor Philip Hammond was flying to Berlin on Friday to encourage support for the Chequers proposals.

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