UK puts reserve soldiers on standby for Brexit

LONDON (AP) — Britain has put military reservists on standby for permanent service in the event the country leaves the European Union without a divorce agreement to smooth the way.

A cliff-edge “no-deal” Brexit on March 29 could bring gridlock at ports and disruption to the supply of goods because of the sudden need for customs checks and other measures.

Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster says an order has been made allowing reservists to be called up for a year of permanent service as part of “contingency planning for a no-deal EU exit scenario.”

The Ministry of Defense has said 3,500 soldiers will be available to help if needed after a no-deal Brexit.

Opposition politicians condemned the move. Labour lawmaker Ian Murray said it was “staggering that soldiers are being put on standby because of the risk of a constitutional crisis of the government’s own making.”