The U.K. stockpiles for a chaotic Brexit that may never happen


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 / Updated  / Source: NBC News

By Patrick Smith

LONDON — In the spare bedroom of Sarah Cuffe’s house are piles of food and toiletries. Natural disasters don’t hit the English county of Hertfordshire very often but it looks like she’s ready for one.

“Just in case the worst comes to the worst, we thought we’ve got a spare bedroom, so why not stockpile stuff like pasta, tinned tomatoes [British for canned tomatoes], things aren’t going to go off,” she told NBC News. “We’ve got loo roll [British slang for toilet paper], cleaning products, multivitamins and nuts for protein.”

But the mother of two isn’t getting ready for a hurricane. Instead, she is one of the many Britons stockpiling goods in case of the most chaotic and unpredictable Brexit outcome: The United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a negotiated withdrawal agreement.

A “no-deal” Brexit — which is scheduled to happen on Friday if 27 E.U. leaders don’t this week unanimously agree to delay the process further — would leave the U.K. floundering without any international trade agreements, potentially causing huge delays to imports and exports of commodities, consumer items and medical supplies.

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