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18th Dec 2018

Emergency no deal Brexit planning puts 3,500 troops on standby, government confirms

James Dawson

“What we are doing is putting contingency plans in place”

Over three thousand troops have been put on standby for deployment on Britain’s streets after the government “ramped up” its emergency plans for a no deal Brexit on Tuesday morning.

Speaking in the Commons following a cabinet meeting about Brexit, defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “What we are doing is putting contingency plans in place.

“What this will do is have 3,500 service personnel held at readiness, including regulars and reserves, in order to support any government department on any contingencies they may need.”

The comments came after Brexit secretary Steve Barclay warned that unless MPs back Theresa May’s deal in January, no deal will be the only option left on the table.

“Parliament needs to back the deal because the consequence of not doing so is we risk the default of no deal, and a responsible Government must prepare for that eventuality,” said Barclay.

“That is what we agreed at cabinet. That is what we are going to do.”

There are just over 100 days left until Britain is due to withdraw from the European Union on 29 March, with Downing Street confirming a further £2 billion will soon be allocated to prepare Britain for an exit on World Trade Organisation terms.

Speaking on Monday, Theresa May urged MPs to accept her deal when it comes before parliament in the New Year, adding that during negotiations last week the EU had made it clear the Irish backstop was “not a plot to trap the UK”.

She said: “I can confirm we will return to the meaningful vote debate in the week beginning 7 January and hold the vote the following week. Avoiding ‘no deal’ is only possible if we can reach an agreement or if we abandon Brexit entirely.”