May to outline Brexit next steps as government calls up military reservists to cope with no deal

Written by Kevin Schofield and Richard Johnstone on 21 January 2019 in News

MoD parliamentary statement reveals plans for armed forces’ reservists to be called up

Photo: PA

Theresa May will today set out her plan to convince the EU to make changes to her Brexit deal in order to get the plans through parliament.

In a statement to MPs later, it is expected the prime minister will say she plans to focus on winning fresh concessions from Brussels on the Irish backstop.

May will set out her plan in a parliamentary motion and statement to MPs later, which will then be voted on in the Commons on 29 January.


One minister told CSW’s sister title PoliticsHome that the prime minister had effectively chosen a "one more heave" strategy in an effort to win the backing of Conservative eurosceptics and the DUP after her Brexit deal was defeated by 230 votes in the Commons last week.

Another cabinet source said: "The plan remains to remove the backstop and get the DUP and her own party onside."

The details of the next steps will be published after a written statement from the Ministry of Defence revealed that it has developed plans to call up reservists from the UK’s armed forces to deal with the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

The statement from armed forces minister Mark Lancaster said that the move was part of “the Cabinet Office co-ordinated work programme to ensure that there are effective and proportionate contingency plans in place to mitigate the potential immediate impacts leaving the EU, under a no-deal scenario, might have on the welfare, health and security of UK citizens and economic stability of the UK”.

The statement confirmed that an order had been made under the Reserve Forces Act 1996 to enable reservists to be called into permanent service, putting them on standby to either replace regular soldiers moves into Brexit work, to provide specialist skills or to be part of “24/7 operation and resilience” at “regional points of command”.

“We would also expect reserves to be drawn upon to support the implementation of contingency plans developed by other government departments,” Lancaster added.

The order will apply for a year and will take effect from 10 February.

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Kevin Schofield and Richard Johnstone
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Kevin Schofield is the editor of PoliticsHome, where a version of this story first appeared.

Richard Johnstone is CSW's deputy and online editor and tweets as @CSW_DepEd

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