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Lords to ask Michael Gove why his department is at “high risk” in a no-deal Brexit

The National Audit Office has recently concluded in a new report that DEFRA is at high risk of not delivering all its EU Exit portfolio in a no-deal scenario. The House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee on Wednesday 17th October will scrutinise DEFRA's preparations for a no deal Brexit with Secretary of State Michael Gove MP.

The Government have published a series of guidance notices, aimed at helping businesses to prepare for a ‘no deal' scenario, and they make clear that the consequences of 'no deal' on the UK's agriculture, food and fisheries sectors could be severe.

Unless the UK can secure ‘listed' third country status, no animals could be exported to the EU. UK mineral water would not be able to be sold in the EU unless it was recognised one of the remaining Member States. Pet owners would be required to go through a longer and more rigorous process of blood tests and paperwork before being able to travel with their animal. All food labels will have to be changed.

The evidence session will begin at 11.15am in Committee Room 2 of the House of Lords.

The Committee will explore the extent to which the Government is prepared for a ‘no deal' scenario, including issues such as:

  • Whether there will be time to recruit the additional vets that will be required
  • How well advanced the development of the new IT systems (to document and trace plant and animal movements; to register chemicals etc) are
  • What capacity the Government will have to patrol UK waters and enforce fishing restriction
  • How many of the 93 pieces of secondary legislation required will be completed by March 2019

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