A no-deal Brexit would create a “paradise for spivs and speculators” as shortages of foods and medicines spur a growth in the black market, Gordon Brown warns today.

The former Labour Prime Minister will set out the unintended consequences of a disorderly exit in a speech to the council umbrella group Cosla in St Andrews.

He will also call on Boris Johnson to explain what the UK Government plans to do to “curb and punish” those profiteering from lorry pile-ups and bottlenecks in supplies.

He will warn that with the UK getting 1m medical consignments a day and 30 per cent of its food from mainland Europe, port and road disruption would see a spike in crime.

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He will say: “It is inevitable that we will see a return of ‘the spiv’ as speculation around food and medicine shortages and the falling pound are guaranteed to reward them handsomely.

“Speculators are poised to swoop on stockpiles of medicines and food supplies and to profit from a hit to the pound and even from the sale of carbon credits originally designed to protect our environment.”

Mr Brown will say some common drugs such as eye drops and antidepressants have already been affected by shortages and stockpiling in advance of Hallowe’en.

He will say: “While the government has made some preparations - stockpiling, warehousing, buying additional sea and air freight capacity - we have not yet succeeded in securing around 30 per cent of the medical stockpiles we need according to the National Audit Office.

“And the Commercial Director of the NHS has predicted serious shortages for six months.

“Even food is set become a plaything with a combination of shortages, stockpiling and a fall in the pound making ruthless profiteering possible at the expense of food price rises for hard-pressed families.

“All of this will undoubtedly lead to a return of smugglers using border areas to seize on quick windfalls - and all of this will ultimately affect millions of ordinary people across Britain.”

In April, a leaked memo from the Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill warned a no-deal Brexit could raise food prices by 10%, strain police forces and make the UK “less safe”.

Mr Brown will say: “The Cabinet Secretary has warned that a No deal Brexit could trigger a downward slide in law and order even before Boris Johnson tries to make Britain an offshore tax haven and financial centre - what some call the ‘Singapore on the Thames’ that so many Conservative cabinet members seem hell-bent on creating.

“We urgently need a statement from the Prime Minister setting out what he plans to do to curb and punish speculators, spivs and smugglers profiteering from the miseries - endless lorry pile-ups and bottlenecks in food and medical supplies - of a no-deal Brexit.”

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A UK Government spokesperson said: "This is simply scaremongering. The UK Government set out earlier this week our robust and well developed plans to deal with a no deal Brexit.

“We are better prepared now than we have ever been. That includes working with the Scottish Government to ensure the supply of medicines remains uninterrupted and that people in the UK continue have access to a range of high quality foods.”