Mark Lancaster (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence) made a written statement to Parliament issuing a Call-Out Order for British Army Reservists in the event that the UK leaves the EU with no deal.
The exact wording of the Order is as follows:
A new order has been made under section 56(1B) of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 to enable Reservists to be called into permanent service in support of the HMG contingency planning for a no deal EU exit scenario.
Defence is committed to assisting the Cabinet Office coordinated work programme to ensure that there are effective and proportionate contingency plans in place to mitigate the potential immediate impacts leaving the EU, under a ‘No Deal’ scenario, might have on the welfare, health and security of UK citizens and economic stability of the UK.
Reserve Forces will be on standby to deliver a range of Defence outputs such as: reinforcement of Regular sub-units, liaison officer roles and the provision of specialist skills. A particularly important role may be the planned reinforcement of Regional Points of Command, to enable their 24/7 operation and resilience. We would also expect Reserves to be drawn upon to support the implementation of contingency plans developed by Other Government Departments.
The order shall take effect from the beginning of 10 February 2019 and shall cease to have effect at the end of 9 February 2020.
Best for Britain supporter Ian Murray MP, quoted in The Mirror, said: “Calling up the reserves shows just how serious the threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit is.
“It is staggering that soldiers are being put on standby because of the risk of a constitutional crisis of the government’s own making.
“A ‘no deal’ scenario should be ruled out immediately by the Prime Minister, to avoid this chaos. There is absolutely no parliamentary support for this.
“She should take her deal to the public, and agree to a people’s vote which includes the option of remaining in the EU and avoiding the need for soldiers on the streets.”
The MOD has made a statement concerning the Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) laid before Parliament yesterday.
The WMS gives the MOD the ability to call up reserve forces, if necessary. The MOD has not been asked to deploy forces in the event of a no-deal Brexit, and the department routinely undertakes contingency planning to ensure we are resourced for any scenario.
Last year, the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson confirmed that 3,500 service personnel would be held at high readiness, which would include both regular and reserves. The laying of this WMS is a routine part of this planning.
Image: British Army Reserve soldiers of The London Regiment on public order (riot) training 2014.