The Catch-up: Thousands of troops in advanced preparation for no-deal Brexit

What happened?

Britain’s armed forces have set up a command centre in an underground bunker as part of contingency plans for the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal. Called Operation Redfold, the Ministry of Defence said it has committed to holding 3,500 troops at readiness to help the government with any civil disruption that could be caused by a no-deal departure from the EU.

Is ‘no deal’ going to happen?

On Thursday night, Theresa May agreed with the EU that Brexit could be delayed past March 29. She now has until April 12 to get her divorce deal (which has already been rejected by MPs twice) through Parliament. If she doesn’t – and the odds are stacked against her – then Britain could easily leave the EU in three weeks’ time with no agreement in place.

But it is clear that the EU doesn’t want this to happen – and neither do British MPs. That means it is quite conceivable Mrs May fails to get her deal through again and is forced to quit. The Tories could then seek an interim leader to try and bridge the divisions in Parliament, which would likely involve an even longer delay while Parliament tries to reach a consensus.

How serious is no deal?

Many pro-Brexiteers have dismissed concerns about crashing out without a deal as ‘Project Fear’, though some also admit there will be short-term pain. Yesterday, however, union and business leaders issued a remarkable joint plea (Full story here) to Mrs May urging her to “change course” in her approach to Brexit. They said the UK faces a “national emergency” and “avoiding no deal is paramount”.

The MoD’s plan also comes as it emerged teachers in Kent have been warned they may have to suspend classes or act in a “carer role” in the event of a no-deal Brexit. According to separate leaked documents, the government’s priorities in the event of a no-deal will be “welfare, health, transport and security of UK citizens at home and abroad, and the economic stability of the UK”.

Read more about this story
Full story: Govt preparing to enter ‘very high’ readiness mode (Sky News)
Union and business leaders in joint Brexit plea (Press Association)
‘Stop Brexit’ petition his 3 million signatures (The Independent)
Pupils could be left stranded by no deal Brexit (The Guardian)

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