Johnson rips apart Project Fear scaremongering with massive no deal Brexit publicity blitz
A series of adverts is to appear on radio, television, social media and in newspapers to explain steps that can be taken in readiness for possible changes to travel rules and other potential disruption resulting from a sudden break with Brussels on October 31. Officials are also overhauling the Government’s official website, www.gov.uk, following expectations of a surge in use as consumers seek information about the impact of no deal.
“We have been preparing gov.uk for a massive traffic increase,” a Government source said.
“We know there is an appetite from the government for more information, particularly around no deal. It will be things like travel and passports, and more user friendly.”
Around £100million has been set aside for the publicity campaign, which is expected to highlight potential opportunities for businesses from new trade deals with countries outside the EU.
Officials say ministers have ruled out the idea of posting leaflets to households about the situation, insisting national media and digital campaigning will be more effective.
It also emerged yesterday that Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister in charge of coordinating the Government’s no deal preparations, will update MPs on the progress of the work when Parliament’s summer break ends next month.
“Michael Gove will be in the House on the first Monday back updating parliament about all of the work that has been going on in preparation,” the source said.
“The intention is for him to do that regularly, probably weekly, in the lead-up to 31 October. There will be plenty of opportunity for scrutiny.”
Downing Street confirmed the publicity blitz was imminent yesterday in response to a row about a leaked Government document setting out Civil Service preparations for a no-deal Brexit under an initiative named Operation Yellowhammer.
The document warned of possible food and fuel shortages resulting from tariffs that could be imposed by Brussels. Brexit-backing MPs have denounced the document as part of the “Project Fear” campaign within Whitehall against a no-deal Brexit.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said the leaked Operation Yellowhammer no-deal Brexit dossier was “out of date”.
The spokeswoman said: “In relation to business we have been engaging widely and will continue to do so and that’s been significantly stepped up in recent weeks.
“We have published numerous documents on how businesses can prepare.
“You can expect to see further information being published in the coming weeks in relation to how the public can further prepare and the changes that they are likely to see across a range of areas.”
She added: “We are making all necessary preparations ahead of October 31.”