Army 'on standby' for 'no deal' Brexit disruption

Posted On: 
29th July 2018

The armed forces are on standby to help dole out medicines, food and fuel to vulnerable communities if Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal, it has emerged.

Ministers are said to be dusting off plans to draft in the armed forces if Britain leaves the EU without a deal
Credit: 
PA

Ministers confirmed this week that the Government has begun stockpiling drugs and food in a bid to ensure the UK is braced for the impacts of a 'no deal' Brexit.

Theresa May has described those preparations as "sensible" and said people should take "comfort" from the contingency planning going on across Whitehall.

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According to the Sunday Times, that includes a plan to draft in the armed forces to assist civilian authorities, with helicopters and army trucks used to transport medicines to people in hard-to-reach locations outside the Southeast of England.

The military would also be called on in the event of disruption at Britain's ports, it is claimed.

While a Ministry of Defence source told the paper "no formal request" had been received, it is understood that existing plans used in civil emergencies would be put into action.

A minister told the paper: "There is a lot of civil contingency planning around the prospect of no deal. That’s not frightening the horses, that’s just being utterly realistic."

Retailer Amazon is said to have warned ministers earlier this month that its own plans for a 'no deal' Brexit included preparation for "civil unrest" within two weeks of the UK and EU failing to strike a deal.

Meanwhile, the Government has reportedly shelved plans agreed at last month's Chequers summit to publish a report on 'no deal' planning every week during the summer recess.

The documents would have spelt out how different sectors of the economy could best prepare for an exit without a deal.

But the proposal was reportedly killed off by a senior official in the Brexit department this week, amid fears that it could spook voters.

A source told the paper: "People will sh*t themselves and think they want a new referendum or an election or think the Tory party shouldn’t govern again.

"MPs are saying: ‘If this is done badly, it could hurt us like sleaze did in the 1990s'."

Downing Street sources said the papers would now be published on a single day in late August.