A top civil servant has suggested troops patrolling Britain’s borders would be a ‘last resort’ if the UK left the EU with no deal on immigration.
Chair of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, Mr Rutnam said when speaking to Labour MP Yvette Cooper:
“I think it would be unwise to rule anything out. It seems clear to me that any use of the military would be an absolute last resort. Our preference – strong preference – is to deal with the border and security needed at the border, through border force and that is the basis in which our planning is proceeding.”
Mr Rutnam however reportedly reassured the committee, adding that they had started recruiting an additional 300 immigration officers to ensure all possible outcomes were catered for.
This kind of deployment would not be without precedent. Earlier in the year, Operation Temperer was put into place. It was a plan to deploy troops to support police officers in key locations following a major terrorist attack. It was put into effect for the first time following the Manchester Arena bombing.
The plan provided for up to 5,100 soldiers to be deployed to “augment armed police officers engaged in protective security duties” at key sites in major UK cities. All troops will be working under the command of police officers.
Prime Minister Theresa May said at the time:
“The change in the threat level means that there will be additional resources and support made available to the police as they work to keep us all safe. This request is part of a well-established plan known as Operation Temperer in which both the armed forces and the police officers involved are well-trained and well-prepared to work in this kind of environment.”