The military is reportedly drafting contingency plans that could see British troops deployed in the streets, as the prospects of a chaotic Brexit seem increasingly realistic, with Theresa May facing a potential no-confidence vote.
“About 20 officers who normally oversee Operation Temperer… were ordered last week to step up no-deal Brexit planning,” the Sunday Times reported, citing a well-placed military source.
While Operation Temperer officers are reserved as a response to terror attacks, this time they were tasked with devising a strategy to maintain public order and secure the flow of medical supplies to hospitals. As many as 10,000 members of the military could be deployed on British streets should UK exit the EU on March 29 with no deal with Brussels.
“The armed forces stand ready to support Britain on a practical basis,” British defense minister Tobias Ellwood said on the ‘Ridge on Sunday’ television program last week. “There are contingency plans being made, there are discussions being held behind the scenes as to what support our armed forces will do.”
The army always makes “sensible contingency plans” to deal with all types of events, Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Nick Carter told the BBC last week. “At this stage I think people are confident there will be a deal, if there’s not one then we stand ready to help in any way we can.”
British society remains highly divided over Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement with the EU which was made public on Wednesday night and prompted the resignation of seven ministers. A YouGov poll conducted on Thursday found twice as many Britons oppose the deal as those who support it (42 to 19 percent).
Amid wide discontent with the deal, May now faces a nearly impossible challenge to get the Parliament to approve the agreement, which makes the chance of no-deal Brexit a very real possibility.
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