London: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and other senior members of the royal family may have to be evacuated if the UK experiences riots as a result of a no-deal Brexit next month, a media report said on Sunday. The UK is set to exit the 28-member European Union (EU on March 29. As the risk of Britain leaving the EU without an amicable withdrawal agreement continues to hang over ongoing negotiations, emergency proposals to rescue the royal family during the Cold War era have been “repurposed” in recent weeks to ensure their protection. The plans were originally intended to be put into action in the event of a nuclear attack from the erstwhile Soviet Union, The Sunday Times reported.
In the event of the UK and EU failing to agree a settlement before the Brexit deadline of March 29, the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, will be moved out of London to a secret location, which the newspaper said it has agreed not to disclose. “These emergency evacuation plans have been in existence since the Cold War, but have now been repurposed in the event of civil disorder following a no-deal Brexit,” a UK Cabinet Office source was quoted as saying in the report.
With just 54 days to go until the UK is due to leave the EU, Britain’s civil servants are ramping up no-deal planning, including the contingency plans for the royal family. This is understood to have included discussions between Scotland Yard and regional police forces. “If there were problems in London, clearly you would remove the royal family away from those key sites,” said Dai Davies, the former head of royal protection at the Metropolitan Police.
“Where and how they will evacuate them is top secret and I can’t discuss it. This is a measure that is extremely unlikely to come to pass. (But the powers-that-be need to have contingency plans for any eventuality,” he said. Originally codenamed ‘Operation Candid’, plans were drawn up for the Queen to be evacuated to sea on the royal yacht Britannia if the Soviet Union launched a nuclear attack.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May says she is armed with fresh Brexit mandate
British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Sunday she would be “armed with a fresh mandate and new ideas” when she meets European Union negotiators over her Brexit deal. EU officials have insisted that the deal is not open for renegotiation. But May wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that she would be “battling for Britain and Northern Ireland” in her efforts to get rid of the agreement’s unpopular backstop provision.
“If we stand together and speak with one voice, I believe we can find the right way forward,” she said. The backstop is intended to ensure there is no return to a hard border with Ireland, but Brexit supporters fear it will keep Britain tied to the EU’s customs rules.
MPs voted last week to send May back to Brussels to renegotiate the clause, suggesting her deal would then be able to pass after it was roundly rejected in parliament last month. “I am now confident there is a route that can secure a majority in the House of Commons for leaving the EU with a deal,” she wrote. “When I return to Brussels I will be battling for Britain and Northern Ireland, I will be armed with a fresh mandate, new ideas and a renewed determination to agree a pragmatic solution”.