No-deal Brexit plans put 3,500 troops on standby

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Offline the leveller

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No-deal Brexit plans put 3,500 troops on standby
« on: December 18, 2018, 09:16:50 PM »
Emergency no-deal Brexit contingency plans must now be implemented across government, cabinet ministers have agreed, including reserving ferry space for supplies and putting 3,500 armed forces personnel on standby to deal with any disruption.
No 10 confirmed on Tuesday that cabinet ministers would “ramp up” no-deal planning, and that the departments would be expected to make it their main priority.
Downing Street said it would send advice on preparing for no deal to all UK businesses and suggested they should begin implementing their own contingency plans as they saw fit.
Theresa May’s spokesman said the cabinet “agreed that delivering the deal that the prime minister agreed with Brussels remains the government’s top priority and our best no-deal mitigation”.
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The spokesman said it was the government’s “continued duty to prepare for every eventuality, including a no-deal situation”. Ministers acknowledged the steps that had already been taken, Number 10 said, including 320 “no-deal workstreams” across all departments and 106 no-deal technical notices, Number 10 said.
“Cabinet agreed that with just over three months from our exit from the EU, we have now reached the point where we need to ramp up these preparations. This means we will now set in motion the remaining elements of our no-deal plans. Cabinet also agreed to recommend businesses ensure they are similarly prepared enacting their own no-deal plans.”
Downing Street suggested preparations could include reserving space on ferries in order to ensure a supply of food and medicines.
Related: What is a no-deal Brexit and what does it mean for me? 21 ways it'll affect your life
Speaking later in the Commons, the defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, said his department “will 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”.
Citizens will also be informed how to prepare, including information on a “range of channels” that could include TV adverts and social media, Number 10 said.
Ministers agreed to allocate money from a £2bn contingency fund to departments such as the Home Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
HMRC will prepare a 100-page pack for all UK businesses on preparing for no deal, involving about 80,000 emails to businesses.
During the meeting, the work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd, told her colleagues preparing for a no-deal Brexit was a sensible precaution but “just because you put a seatbelt on doesn’t mean you should crash the car”.
But the justice secretary, David Gauke, who said publicly at the weekend he would resign rather than be part of a government that deliberately pursued no deal, told the meeting that a “managed no deal is not a viable option”.
“It’s not on offer from the EU and the responsibility of cabinet ministers is not to propagate unicorns but to slay them,” he said, according to a cabinet source.
A “managed no deal” is the approach favoured by Brexit-backing ministers including Penny Mordaunt and Andrea Leadsom, who believe the government could pay part of the £39bn the government has agreed it owes the EU, to “purchase” a status quo transition period.
Downing Street said delivering the prime minister’s deal “remains the top priority”, but when presented with three options on whether to increase, maintain or wind down preparations, there was unanimity in cabinet to implement all no-deal contingency planning across departments.
All agreed that they would implement contingencies across Whitehall. Previously, departments had been given some freedom to decide when and what they spent on no-deal planning.
The environment secretary, Michael Gove, is among those who have been allocating the most resources, recently advertising for 90 staff for an EU exit crisis centre to respond to emergencies following a no-deal Brexit.
Defra, along with the Home Office and the Department for International Trade, are to get the most significant budgets for no-deal preparations.
Several ministers pushed for no deal to become Whitehall’s “central planning assumption” but Downing Street said that it remained the position that a deal was “the most likely outcome.”
Speaking after the meeting, the Brexit secretary, Stephen Barclay, said the default option is for the UK to leave without any exit arrangement in place unless MPs back the deal.
“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,” he said. “That is what we agreed at cabinet. That is what we are going to do.”
Watch: What happens in a no-deal Brexit? (Newsy)

« Last Edit: December 18, 2018, 09:17:50 PM by the leveller »

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