Wednesday, 19 Jun 2024

Military could be used in the event of a 'no-deal' Brexit, says minister

Tobias Ellwood said talks were being held behind the scenes about contingency plans.

He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “It is the job of the Chief of Defence Staff, indeed the MoD and the Defence Secretary, to consider all scenarios whether how vague or rare they might be or whether they might be something that’s expected, we have to plan for every single scenario.

“So yes, there are contingency plans being made, there are discussions being held behind the scenes as to what support our armed forces will do.”

Mr Ellwood added: “If there is a requirement to provide assistance, we are looking right across the full spectrum of requirements to make sure that we are prepared to, necessarily, stand up if asked to do so.”

The government has said it is confident of agreeing a deal with the European Union, but it is the responsible course of action to plan for every eventuality.

A “no-deal” divorce could lead to disruption in a number of areas of British life, hence the contingency planning.

Ministers have released a number of documents advising businesses and the public of what they need to do if there is no Brexit deal.

They have covered areas like aviation safety, civilian nuclear power, medical drugs, the rights of British citizens living in the EU, road haulage and fishing rights.

The comments from Mr Ellwood came after Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter said the military was “thinking hard” about what such a scenario might entail.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, he said the military makes “sensible contingency plans for all sorts of eventualities”.

When quizzed on what the military has been asked to do, Sir Nick said: “At this stage I think people are confident there will be a deal, if there’s not one, we stand ready to help in any way we can.”

There have been reports on the army stepping in to make sure stockpiled medicines are delivered to where they are needed, but Sir Nick said the military was “not involved in that”.

When asked what they are involved in, he replied: “We’re involved in thinking hard about what it might involve, but we’ve not been asked specifically to do anything at this particular stage.”

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