A civil servant engaged in no-deal Brexit planning has accused the government of not being "frank" about the level of preparation happening if a Brexit deal is not agreed.
Writing in the Telegraph, the anonymous author, who is described as "a serving civil servant engaged in preparing the UK for a Brexit on WTO rules after 29 March 2019", said the government was trying to scare "nervous backbench MPs" and the public into backing the "disastrous" withdrawal agreement proposed by Theresa May.
They insisted it was "absolutely untrue" that the UK wuuld "'crash out' over the white cliffs of Dover into the Channel at 11pm on 29 March 2019 and wake up to certain chaos and doom".
They added that the civil service "would not sit back and allow the British public to be threatened by economic paralysis" and "to claim otherwise is to equate the United Kingdom with a tinpot dictatorship".
Describing the concerns over a lack of no-deal Brexit preparations as "Project Fear Mark III", they said that it was "ridiculous" that claims of unpreparedness were still being made in public by MPs. Instead, "very detailed plans have been proposed, assessed, analysed to death and finally agreed", they said.
The official meanwhile claimed that some key elements of no-deal preparations had been made public only very quietly, "almost as though the government didn’t want even its own backbenchers to know".
These included no-deal customs regulations being made by HMRC, businesses being alerted to the new procedures, and job adverts being placed for new customs officers.
The article said there were "hundreds of such no-deal plans across all government departments just waiting for the green light from ministers to be made public".
The civil servant said: "If the government was to be frank with parliament and the country, what justification would be left for its disastrous withdrawal agreement?"
The withdrawal agreement is expected to be put to MPs in mid-January after the government cancelled a planned vote in the House of Commons last month.