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Army on standby if UK crashes out in no-deal Brexit: Report

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Press Trust of India London
The UK government has drawn up plans to draft the Army to deliver essential food and medical supplies in case of shortages triggered by a no-deal Brexit, according to a media report.
Blueprints for the UK armed forces to assist civilian authorities, drafted for use in civil emergencies, are set to be dusted down as part of "no-deal" planning in the event of Britain and the European Union (EU) failing to reach an agreement over its future relationship in ongoing negotiations, 'The Sunday Times' reported.
Helicopters and army trucks would be used to ferry supplies to vulnerable people, who may struggle to obtain the medicines they needed.
A minister told the newspaper that the military would be called in if blockages at ports led to shortages of food, fuel and medicines, warning, "there is a lot of civil contingency planning around the prospect of no deal. That's not frightening the horses, that's just being utterly realistic".
A UK Ministry of Defence source was quoted as saying that while there had been "no formal request" to supply aid, a blueprint exists for supporting the civilian authorities which can be "dusted off".
The report comes as it emerged that the UK government plans to publish reports throughout the coming weeks on no-deal planning having been dropped to prevent overly alarming the public. They will now reportedly be released all on the same day in late August.
Meanwhile, there are reports of a brewing grassroots rebellion against British Prime Minister Theresa May within her own Conservative party over what is being seen as her move towards a soft Brexit.
The Tory grassroots upheaval is prompted by the high-profile resignations of May's Brexit minister David Davis and foreign minister Boris Johnson earlier this month and has set the stage for a face-off when MPs return to Parliament from their summer recess in September.
"If it were to be diluted it would ultimately not be acceptable," said Richard Kellaway, the chairman of Theresa May's Maidenhead Constituency Conservative Party Association.
He is joined by six other Tory constituency representatives who have issued similar warnings against May's proposals, known as the Chequers plan of an alternative customs arrangement with the EU post-Brexit.
Before beginning her summer holiday in Italy and Switzerland, the British PM held talks in Austria on Friday with the country's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, both seen as potentially more sympathetic to the UK's views than the EU's Brexit team.
The talks followed EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier dismissing May's Chequers proposal, saying it was not possible for the UK to collect EU tariffs as a non-member.
With the House of Commons now in recess until September 4, May will be gearing up for her return to Parliament as well as the lead up to the Conservative party's annual conference at the end of September during her summer break.

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First Published: Jul 29 2018 | 7:35 PM IST

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