Over 3,500 troops are currently being “held at readiness” in case of a disastrous no-deal Brexit, the government has announced. The forces are partly fully employed service people and partly reserves.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson told the Commons that while no formal request has been made, ‘contingency plans are in place.’
Williamson’s statement came on the heels of the Cabinet agreeing to activate all of the 106 No Deal ‘technical notices’ issued by the UK government. The documents note a litany of potential disruptions, including grounded flights, fuel and food shortages and hospitals running low on medicines should Britain crash out of the EU in March.
In preparation for no-deal, or as a tactic to garner more concessions from the EU, the government has committed another £2 billion ($2.5mn) to help departments prepare for the potential chaos.
Cabinet intends to notify some six million British businesses to start their own no-deal preparations, according to reports in the Sun, including to some 145,000 firms that export to the EU.
The preparations come amid continued opposition to Prime Ministers Brexit deal, which if accepted by MPs would stave off a no-deal. The PM, however, has not given MPs a chance – as is their mandate – to vote on the deal, fearing defeat. The government has promised a Commons vote on the deal on the week starting Jan 14, 2019.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly accused May of delay tactics, ‘running down the clock’ so the only options are a no-deal or her deal.
Businesses have warned that Britain is unprepared to leave the bloc without a deal, The Confederation for British Industry warned that “leaving the EU in a disorderly fashion would result in disruption for businesses and families, and no deal would leave the UK poorer and less competitive in the long-term.”
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