Military Planning For No-Deal 'The Key Priority'

Defence minister Tobias Ellwood said to not contingency plan would be "irresponsible".

Planning for a no-deal Brexit is the "key priority" for the Ministry of Defence, a defence minister has told Forces News.

Tobias Ellwood was speaking during an event to mark RAF Marham becoming the military’s first green airbase.

The Defence People and Veterans Minister said:

"It has to be the key priority for the moment because that is the legal default position that we find ourselves in if there is no deal.

“The way you avoid no Brexit is by making sure that the Prime Minister’s deal is supported. She obviously goes back to Brussels now and has further negotiations.

“We know that there’s been this difficult aspect of the backstop but that's one part of a very complicated jigsaw. So I do hope we’ll be able to make advances.

“But to not contingency plan would be irresponsible and that’s why the MOD is making us plan,” he added.

Tobias Ellwood at conference
Tobias Ellwood served in the Royal Green Jackets from 1991 to 1996 (Picture: MOD).

Mr Ellwood continued that the MOD was working with other Government departments to make sure Britain "can continue in the event of no deal".

"We make sure our ports, our airports are running, that there is civil order," he continued.

Mr Ellwood further added: "What the Armed Forces does is contingency plan a whole wide variety of scenarios all the time and we’re working with other departments to make sure each department is able to continue operating in the way that they should do."

In January, Mr Ellwood told Forces News he will resign from the government if Britain leaves the European Union with no deal.

His comments came a day after confirmation from the Ministry of Defence that its staff are currently making contingency plans in case there is a no-deal Brexit.

It has also been confirmed that reservists in the British military could be called out on operations if there is a no-deal Brexit.