3,500 military troops on standby to ‘help’ police in event of a no-deal crisis, MPs told

Chief of Defence staff, Sir Nick Carter

As many as 10,000 troops could be deployed on the streets of Britain in case of  chaos arising through a no deal Brexit chaos, a report says. Members of the military are ordered to help keep public order and bring medical supplies to hospitals, and also assist with traffic problems close to ports such as Dover.

There is every indication that a no deal Brexit is anticipated to be potentially devastating for the UK public. The UK defence secretary Gavin Williamson told MPs about the plans on Tuesday. The Cabinet says that contingency plans must now be implemented across government.

The cabinet has said it would publish some 160 technical notices, with 80,000 emails going out to businesses this week, plus a 100-page ‘Partnership Pack.’ The move comes as Theresa May’s deal with the EU comes up for a parliamentary vote in January.

A spokesman said it was the government’s “continued duty to prepare for every eventuality, including a no deal situation”. Ministers acknowledged the steps that had already been taken, No 10 said, including 320 “no-deal workstreams” across all departments and 106 no deal technical notices.

Plans have been put into motion for soldiers to help the police and NHS if the UK ends up leaving the EU without a deal in March. As well as the thousands of military troops already set to be deployed under the proposals, an additional 1,200 troops will be on 24-hour standby, it is said.

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood added: “The Armed Forces stand ready to support Britain on a practical basis… We have to plan for every single scenario.”

Gavin Williamson, said his department “will have 3,500 service personnel held at readiness, including regulars and reserves, in order to support any government department on any contingencies they may need”.

Worryingly, Williamson said “Citizens will be informed how to prepare through a “range of channels” that could include TV adverts and social media.” It’s sobering to consider that those are also the bunker mentality kind of measures the government would take in the event of a nuclear threat and imminent attack. 

Ministers agreed to allocate money from a £2bn contingency fund to departments such as the Home Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

HMRC will prepare a 100-page pack for all UK businesses on preparing for no-deal, and will send out about 80,000 emails to businesses.

During the meeting, the work and pensions secretary, Amber Rudd, told her colleagues preparing for a no deal Brexit was a sensible precaution but “just because you put a seatbelt on doesn’t mean you should crash the car”.

The justice secretary, David Gauke, who said publicly at the weekend he would resign rather than be part of a government that deliberately pursued no deal, told the meeting that a “managed no deal is not a viable option”.

“It’s not on offer from the EU and the responsibility of cabinet ministers is not to propagate unicorns but to slay them,” he said, according to a cabinet source.

A “managed no-deal” is the approach favoured by Brexit-backing ministers including Penny Mordaunt and Andrea Leadsom, who believe the government could pay part of the £39bn the government has agreed it owes the EU to “purchase” a status quo transition period.

Downing Street said delivering the prime minister’s deal “remains the top priority”, but when presented with three options on whether to increase, maintain or wind down preparations, there was unanimity in cabinet to implement all no-deal contingency planning across departments.

All agreed that they would implement contingencies across Whitehall. Previously, departments had been given some freedom to decide when and what they spent on no-deal planning.

“Cabinet agreed that with just over three months from our exit from the EU, we have now reached the point where we need to ramp up these preparations. This means we will now set in motion the remaining elements of our no-deal plans. Cabinet also agreed to recommend businesses ensure they are similarly prepared enacting their own no-deal plans.”

Downing Street suggested preparations could include reserving space on ferries in order to ensure a supply of food and medicines.

The proposals have been drawn up by the military under the rubric of Operation Temperer.In the most extreme scenario, infantry battalions will guard petrol stations should there be unrest in the event of “temporary rationing.”

The contingency planning is being developed by a six-strong team based at Army headquarters in Andover, Hampshire, should it be officially requested by the Government.

The public mood

Theresa May’s Brexit plan has failed to win the backing of the British public, with the recent YouGov opinion poll, conducted on Thursday after the Prime Minister’s deal with Brussels was unveiled, found twice as many people oppose it as support it, 42% to 19%. The survey of  a sample of 3,154 people found that Leave and Remain supporters had similar views on the deal, with 42% of Brexit supporters against it, along with 47% of pro-EU voters, with just  22% and 20% respectively in favour of it.

The current Brexit plan has also failed to find favour among Tory voters, the survey suggests, with 41% of 2017 Conservative voters opposing it, against just 28% backing the Prime Minister.

A separate poll suggested almost half of voters now back a second Brexit referendum. Support for a fresh vote on EU withdrawal was backed by 48% in a YouGov survey carried out after May’s withdrawal agreement text was published on Wednesday night.

It also found voters were split 54% to 46% in favour of remaining in the EU. Little more than one in 10 (12%) believed that the UK was going to get a good deal with the EU.

The poll of 1,153 people, commissioned by the People’s Vote and published in the London Evening Standard, found that only 34% were against a new vote.

With “don’t knows” removed, the ratio was 59% to 42% in favour of a new referendum.

The Sunday Times reports that themilitary standby operation will be overseen by around 20 Operation Temperer officers – who are typically reserved for army response to terror attacks.

The team were ordered last week to step up no-deal Brexit planning. Army general, Sir Nick Carter told the reporters that troops are on standby to take part in a “No Deal scenario.”

He said: “What we always do is make sensible contingency plans for all sorts of eventualities.

“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.”

MPs are currently holding the emergency debate on the EU summit and Theresa May’s Brexit deal proposed by the SNP.

It was opened by Ian Blackford, the SNP’s leader at Westminster. He said he had seen secret government reports on the impact of a no-deal Brexit, in his capacity as a member of the privy council, and that the details were “sobering”. He told MPs:

“The information shared with me should now be made public. It is sobering.

The first job of any government is to protect the interests of its people.

This government is wilfully exposing its citizens to risk, whether it is on job security, procurement of medicines, food supply or indeed on aircraft being able to take off.

We have to wake up to the impact of Brexit and the options that are in front of us.”

Could a no deal Brexit result in martial law being imposed?

Martial law is defined as the imposition of direct military control of normal civilian functions of government, especially in response to a temporary emergency such as invasion or major disaster. That is, basically the army is in charge.

In the UK, what the government would most likely use instead of martial law is a declaration of a State of Emergency under the 2004 Civil Contingencies Act. Responders are responsible for warning and informing the public in relation to emergencies.

Local authorities are required to provide business continuity advice to local businesses. It also places legal obligations for increased co-operation and information sharing between different emergency services and also to non-emergency services that might have a role in an emergency such as electric and water companies.

The introduction of the Act comes with increased funding for emergency planning in the United Kingdom to help organisations comply with the Act and brings emergency planning funding more on par with European levels.

The only primary legislation which may not be amended by emergency regulations is the Human Rights Act 1998 and Part 2 of the Civil Contingencies Act itself. The second part of the Act provides that temporary emergency regulations are normally made by the Queen through Order in Council or by a Minister of the Crown if arranging for an Order in Council would not be possible without serious delay. Such regulations are limited in duration to 30 days, unless Parliament votes to extend this period before it expires.

However, we do not know what kind of situations will arise in the event of a no deal Brexit.

The government’s own analysis indicates:

“In the second scenario, not even the worst, the port of Dover will collapse on day one.” 

“The supermarkets in Cornwall and Scotland will run out of food within a couple of days, and hospitals will run out of medicines within two weeks.”

They added: “You would have to medevac medicine into Britain, and at the end of week two we would be running out of petrol as well.”

Whitehall preparing for food and medicine shortages in event of ‘doomsday’ no deal Brexit

Personally, I think it is wise to prepare for a worst case scenario. 


None of these articles are from government sources. They are from doctors, economists and people who run shops and supermarkets, which makes it less likely that Brexiteers can call the concerns expressed the consequence of “unfounded scaremongering”:

What to expect from a no-deal Brexit: The terrifying consequences if nothing is sorted

Brexit will be very bad for the NHS, survey of UK doctors reveals

NHS fears over no-deal Brexit highlight risk to patients

A No-Deal Brexit Risks U.K. Food Crisis, Sainsbury CEO Warns

NHS faces £2.3bn bill in no-deal Brexit in medicine and supplies cost surge

Brexit stockpiling can’t protect us from fresh food shortages


I don’t make any money from my work. I am disabled because of illness and have a limited income. But you can help me if you like by making a donation to help me continue to research and write informative, insightful and independent articles, and to provide support to others. The smallest amount is much appreciated – thank you.


30 thoughts on “3,500 military troops on standby to ‘help’ police in event of a no-deal crisis, MPs told

  1. I don’t thinks it is conducive to civil order to be constantly told by Brexiteer politicians that there could be riots in the streets. It is almost as if they are trying to put in people’s minds that they have a justification to riot. They may live to regret blowing on the embers of the Far Right to further their own political motives and ambitions…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Then abide by the result of the referendum. The deal gives us nothing and we pay 39 billion for the privelidge.we must walk away from this corrupt organisation.junked is a bloody drunk and he ran rings around may.and as project fear ramps up understand. The e u is floundering bankrupt.if we go everybody pays more.the e u is finished .we are the first card to fall.the gravy train ends when we go.no deal and we save democracy.


      1. This isn’t about remain or leave, it’s about the consequences of a no deal Brexit – seperate issue completely. And if you think the EU are corrupt, just wait until there is no international scrutiny of the Tories, because you ain’t seen nothing yet

        Liked by 3 people

      2. If you think a Tory government out of the EU will do anything at all for democracy in the UK, you really are deluded. It is the most authoritarian government of our lifetime. It has systematically and gravely violated the human rights of targeted groups in the UK, while people like you look the other way, permitting it to happen. That’s the Tories, not the EU. That’s people like you, not the EU.


    2. It isn’t just Brexiteer politicians and the far right that are saying there could be riots. If we have a no deal Brexit, rationing is highly likely. I think hunger and scarcity unites people, leave or remain, it won’t matter if or when people are suffering because of massive shortages of food, fuel and medicine.


      1. Scare mongering and fake news, no evidence that there will be food shortages, Kitty is making up stories. Please set out your arguments and evidence in support of the assertions you make. I am sure you can explain your reaosning for beleiving what you say. If not it will suggest you are not genuine and just a fake propoganderist. But please, do enlighten me.


      2. The evidence is linked onto the article, some from government officials in the details of their operational planning for a no deal, some from supermarkets, grorcery shop groups, other details from the NHS officials . We don’t produce much of our own food, we import it. A no deal Brexit will create problems at our ports and the movement of inports and exports for a while until it is negotiated. That will most likely cause food shortages in the UK.

        I have a reputation among my readers for writing clear, well-researched and evidenced articles, so you calling me a “scaremonger”, we can assume, is simply a symptom of your own denial that things could possibly go wrong. Yet even those leavers with a modicum of common sense will acknowledge that a no deal may be very damaging to the UK, for at least a period of time until negotiation can be established


    3. Why do you say you are ”constantly told” by brexiter politicians – can you point to the name of the politicians constrantly saying there will be riots?


  2. Where has the good old British Spirit Gone, you know the one during the 2nd World War when we all looked after each other, we were the envy of the world when hitler bombed the shit out of us, did we cave in, no we bloody didnt, we showed they could not break our resolve, This country will flourish as it always has in times of need, I am not a May fan, but believe me I was appalled at the way she was treated by the Europeans in talks about brexit, It is Europe who have brought this on us, not our own government all the Europeans want is our money and give nothing back for it. All this sniping and have our people in fighting mode for the wrong reasons. We should be showing them we dont need them, we never have and never will. Lets get some of that Bring It On, if that’s what you want, we are ready for anything you throw at us. But be prepared for us to throw it back twice fold.
    We have done it before and we can do it again.


    1. The government have brought this on us, not Europe. Instead of negotiating, they approached this in the same way they always approach everything, without diplomacy and without any compromise. The UK seems to have expected to leave the EU but to keep the benefits of being in the EU. When it turns out we can’t do that, some people are outraged. How unreasonable.

      As for “we can do this again”, you don’t speak for me. I rely on medications to keep me alive, so the old “war spirit” is something that depends on how well my illness is managed by access to my essential treatment. Add potential food shortage to that and you are looking at a scenario where some citizens like me may not survive. So you can stick your “we” where the sun doesn’t shine. The UK is not at war, so why would citizens need a war time spirit to get through this?

      Selfish and stupid people who bang on about how “we” can do this and that, and who don’t mind sacrificing their fellow citizens to get their own way are the measure of everything that is wrong with this country. The same people who turn the other way when groups are targeted by extremely punitive and authoritarian policies in the UK by a monstrously authoritarian and nationalist government, then think the real enemy is somehow “europeans”.

      We are not the “envy” of the world. And we won’t be after Brexit. Europe will manage every well without our money. People in the UK won’t flourish because the government have been systematically removing our human rights, and that includes the EU charter, which protects workers from exploitation, groups from eugenics and a raft of other events that our own frameworks that remain do not cover. In the event of a a financial crisis unfolding in the UK following Brexit, we already know that those who will bear the brunt of austerity will once again be the poorest citizens, the disabled and ill citizens, just as they did last time following the banking crisis. The government have form, after all.

      People like you deserve the shock doctrine approach to governmening, that has been unfolding in the UK. But it ialways those who do’t that suffer as a consequence. You call for a war spirit, which is so typical of Leaver’s mentalty. I call for citizen solidarity. That’s the difference between you and me. The one the government will continue to malipulate, because frankly, too many people in the UK are easily manipulated into looking at the world and seeing it as “us and them”

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Dear Kitty S Jones. Another well written piece with some excellent supporting comment from yourself and others. You must be completely exasperated by now having to continually and repeatedly confront and challenge this overwhelming tide of drivel and hate-filled nonsense that flows continuously from the furthest and darkest corners of humanity threatening to undermine and destroy all that has contributed to the advance of equality, human rights and civilization over the course of centuries. And this is the UK: talk about the enemy within: undermined from the inside out. I have no answers!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s