‘God, help us’: British Army on standby in case of no-deal Brexit supply issues
The possibility of a no-deal Brexit made the Ministry of Defence “dust off” blueprints to use of army trucks and helicopters to deliver key supplies to far flung parts of the UK – something usually reserved for civil emergencies, like severe weather.
However a source inside the department said they have not yet received “a formal request” to assist the civilian authorities, according to the Sunday Times.
An unnamed minister downplayed the alarmist nature of the news to the paper, saying that the government was “just being realistic” about the potential pitfalls of a no-deal, adding that the army would only be called in if blockages at ports were preventing the supply of food, fuel, and medicines from entering the country.
“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,” they told the Times report.
Without securing a new Free Trade Agreement with the EU, a no-deal, the UK would revert to World Trade Organization rules resulting in the imposing of tariffs on goods that the UK sends to the EU, and on goods the EU sends to the UK.
This lack of “frictionless trade” could see a 10-mile-long motorway in south-east England turned into a “holding area” for goods vehicles, as up to 10,000 trucks a day would suddenly require customs checks to enter the EU, according to the Financial Times.
The pro-EU Labour MP David Lammy took aim at the news on Twitter saying: “God, help us. This is not coming from Remainers. This is not project fear. Pro-Brexit Ministers are drawing up blueprints for the army to deliver food, fuel and medicine if we leave the EU with no deal.”
“We have a duty to prevent this self-immolation,” he added.
God, help us. This is not coming from Remainers. This is not project fear. Pro-Brexit Ministers are drawing up blueprints for the army to deliver food, fuel and medicine if we leave the EU with no deal. We have a duty to prevent this self-immolation.https://t.co/ipWppDQIny— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) July 29, 2018
However, the former Brexit secretary David Davis, who resigned from the position earlier this month over his dissatisfaction with a possible soft Brexit deal, dismissed the story as an attempt to scare people in order to secure a Free Trade Agreement “which will tank the economy.”
The plan of scaring the crap out of people with no deal horror stories in order to make an FTA which will tank the economy look like a good deal is beginning to work.https://t.co/gDpv2CQ0BF— David Davis (@David_Davis_UK) July 29, 2018
Talk of shortages of food and medicines in the wake of a possible no-deal has come to the fore recently, with NHS bosses planning to stockpile key drugs and blood supplies in the event the service has to go on a permanent winter-crisis footing.
Supermarkets, meanwhile have told suppliers to make plans for a no-deal which could see them stockpile goods such a tea and coffee for periods much longer than normal.
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