With 63 days to go, White­hall of­fi­cials are given ur­gent or­ders to...

Daily Express - - Front Page - By Mar­tyn Brown

EMER­GENCY prepa­ra­tions for a no-deal Brexit are be­ing ur­gently ramped up, it was re­vealed last night.

White­hall man­darins have trig­gered the fi­nal stages of con­tin­gency plan­ning for Op­er­a­tion Yel­lowham­mer, the bat­tle plan for a no-deal.

The move comes as ex­pec­ta­tions grow that Bri­tain will leave the EU on March 29 with­out an agree­ment in place.

With only 63 days to go un­til Brexit day, thou­sands of civil ser­vants have been briefed to

take on key tasks. A White­hall source said last night: “It’s clear that Yel­lowham­mer plan­ning is en­ter­ing the crit­i­cal fi­nal stage.

“You get the sense that White­hall is re­ally gear­ing up for a no-deal Brexit. The merry-go-round of staff brings a sense of ur­gency now.”

Op­er­a­tion Yel­lowham­mer needs to be ac­ti­vated at least six weeks in ad­vance of Brexit day.

Some 100 new spe­cial­ist no-deal civil ser­vice roles have been cre­ated in­clud­ing jobs in Poland, France and other Euro­pean coun­tries to help with the tran­si­tion.

Over­all, more than 12,000 civil ser­vants are work­ing on Brexit and a fur­ther 4,000 are join­ing them.

Par­lia­ment re­mains bit­terly di­vided over back­ing the Prime Min­is­ter’s at­tempts to agree an EU deal.

A crunch vote next Tues­day could de­ter­mine whether Ar­ti­cle 50 gets ex­tended – pos­si­bly de­lay­ing Brexit un­til the end of the year.

But Tory MP Sir John Red­wood said it was “hugely sig­nif­i­cant” that White­hall is now fully geared up for leav­ing the EU with­out a deal.

He added: “I think they are ab­so­lutely right to en­sure ev­ery­thing runs smoothly on March 29.

“The Bri­tish pub­lic are just fedup now and want this whole process to be over a soon as pos­si­ble.”

Fel­low Tory Ja­cob Rees-Mogg said: “It is ob­vi­ously right and proper for no-deal plan­ning to be fi­nalised. No-deal is the gov­ern­ment’s de­fault Brexit po­si­tion if the Prime Min­is­ter’s plan does not get agreed by Par­lia­ment so we need to be ready for it.”

De­tails of Op­er­a­tion Yel­lowham­mer plan­ning have al­ready emerged fol­low­ing months of fran­tic work by al­most ev­ery gov­ern­ment de­part­ment. lThe MoD is plac­ing 3,500 troops on alert. lThe NHS char­ter­ing a ded­i­cated plane to en­sure vi­tal med­i­cal sup­plies are flown into the UK from Maas­tricht in Hol­land. lThe Trans­port De­part­ment has awarded a £13.8mil­lion con­tract to run a freight ser­vice be­tween Rams­gate and Os­tend. lTra■sport Sec­re­tary Chris Grayling

Ne­go­ti­at­ing – Theresa May

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