Number 10: No plans to call in the army if Britain leaves EU without a deal

Written by Matt Foster and Liz Bates on 31 July 2018 in News

Reports had indicated the army are also on standby to help distribute out medicines, food and fuel to vulnerable communities

Downing Street has denied claims that the army will be drafted in to help dole out emergency supplies in the event that Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal.

Whitehall’s plans for a ‘no deal’ Brexit have been under the spotlight in recent days after it emerged that the government is stockpiling medicines and food in case of disruption to supply chains.

A report in The Sunday Times this weekend alleged that the army stood ready to help civilian authorities deal with the fallout of a ‘no deal’, with helicopters and army trucks prepared to transport medicines to people in isolated communities across the UK.


But Theresa May’s official spokesperson pushed back at the reports today, insisting there were "no plans to involve the army in a no deal scenario".

They added: “I can’t be any clearer or firmer than that. I don’t know where the speculation came from but there are no plans."

The denial from Downing Street came as Brexiteers accused the Government of reviving the so-called "Project Fear" tactics used in the EU referendum campaign to scare the public about a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

A string of reports were due to be published over the summer at weekly intervals, telling members of the public and companies how to prepare for a hard exit. The briefings are now set to be published in August and September, according to Number Ten.

But top Conservative eurosceptics said the documents would only focus on the negative effects of a ‘no deal’, and claimed ministers were failing to talk up the positives of walking away without a deal.

A Cabinet source told the Telegraph: "It is designed by Number Ten to do the opposite of what Brexiteers want. We could have made a strong case for no deal and said we were prepared. The way they are presenting it makes it look like Armageddon.

"It is a kamikaze approach to no-deal. The truth is, it's total chaos. They are deliberately trying to make no-deal look bad."

But online shopping giant Amazon warned earlier this month that a ‘no deal’ Brexit would lead to “civil unrest” within two weeks, while ex-trade minister Lord Price, a former chief of retailer Waitrose, has said he believes fresh food prices could soar as a result of ‘no deal’.

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Matt Foster and Liz Bates
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Matt Foster is news editor of PoliticsHome, where a version of this story first appeared.

Liz Bates is sneior political reporter for PoliticsHome,

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