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3,500 troops on standby under new no-deal Brexit plans which become ‘operational priority’

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All UK citizens will be sent information about how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, as the government dramatically ramps up its contingency planning.

Downing Street revealed the “public communications” will be released alongside a “general advertising campaign”, with 101 days until the expected divorce date.

Other measures revealed include:

  • 3,500 troops being “held at readiness” to help with any “contingencies”
  • Information packs being sent to business and traders about border changes
  • £2bn being allocated for more government no-deal spending
  • Space being set aside on ships to ensure medical supplies continue as normal
  • Security and law enforcement being treated as a “priority issue”
  • COBRA meetings being held at required intervals
What do the previous leaders of the UK think about Brexit?
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What do the previous leaders of the UK think about Brexit?

The decisions were made at a crunch cabinet meeting this afternoon, as ministers agreed to “fully” implementate planning for a no-deal divorce on 29 March 2019.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay emerged after the meeting to declare the government’s priority was on getting a deal negotiated with Brussels through parliament.

But he said a “responsible government” had to prepare for leaving the EU with no agreement and that had become its “operational priority”.

Sky sources said discord broke out at the two-hour meeting when Justice Secretary David Gauke spoke up to call the idea of a “managed” no-deal “a unicorn that needs to be slaughtered”.

They added he argued for the option to be able to block a no-deal Brexit nearer the deadline.

A cabinet source also said Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd spoke up to warn: “Just because you’ve put a seatbelt on, it doesn’t mean you should crash the car.”

Britain's Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd leaves from 10 Downing Street in central London on December 18, 2018, after attending the weekly meeting of the Cabinet. - British ministers met on Tuesday to intensify plans for leaving the European Union without a deal -- a prospect that is becoming more likely as Prime Minister Theresa May plays for time with just 101 days to go until Brexit.
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A cabinet source said Amber Rudd deployed a car analogy

Mrs May’s spokesman said there were no rows, insisting it was the best cabinet meeting in a while.

He added all UK citizens will be sent information in the next few weeks about how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit – ruling out that the information will be sent on Christmas Day.

106 technical notices and 320 “ongoing no-deal work streams” have so far been published on how the country should get ready for leaving without an agreement.

And a petition calling for the UK to leave the EU without a deal has reached 220,000 signatures – at one point garnering over 1,500 an hour.

One of the first batch of no-deal Brexit preparation papers, which have been published by the government, is read on a computer screen in London.
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Planning for a no-deal Brexit has become an ‘operational priority’

Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom, speaking ahead of cabinet, promised ministers were preparing “for all eventualities”.

“We’re certainly not intending to have a no-deal Brexit, but parliament does need to vote for a deal, otherwise the legal default position is we will head for no-deal,” she said.

Mrs May was earlier given a boost of support by backbench Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg, who vowed to “move on” after losing a bid to unseat her.



Jacob Rees-Mogg is adamant that events move on, even from the confidence vote in Theresa May




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Rees-Mogg: You win some, you lose some

Mr Rees-Mogg, who was one of 117 Tory MPs to vote against the PM in a confidence vote, said he respected the result and was now backing her.

“I lost the vote last week – and if you lose, that is ultimately conclusive,” he told Sky News.

“Events move on, they have moved on and I have therefore moved with them.”

Labour is still threatening to call a vote of no-confidence in the government, which could force a general election if successful.

Downing Street sources said a no-confidence motion in the PM would not be granted parliamentary time for a debate this year.



Jeremy Corbyn




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‘Angry’ Corbyn demands vote on May’s Brexit deal

The prime minister looks set to avoid any more major showdowns in parliament, with MPs breaking up for the Christmas holidays on Thursday.

Despite Labour not being able to debate its no-confidence motion in the prime minister, it will still push for one in the government in the new year.

Earlier, shadow housing secretary John Healey told Sky News it was a question of “when – not if” the push would come.

Jenny Chapman, Labour’s shadow Brexit minister, said the no-deal planning move was “testament to the prime minister’s failure in these negotiations”.

“A no-deal Brexit would be a disaster for jobs, the economy and the border in Northern Ireland. It is simply not a viable option,” she said.

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