14:17 GMT07 May 2021
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    The plans were reportedly originally developed for the event of Soviet nuclear attack.

    UK security authorities are working on a secret plan to evacuate Queen Elizabeth II from Westminster if a no-deal Brexit scenario sparks riots on the streets of London, a source in the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, the UK body tasked with emergency planning told the Daily Mail.

    According to the source, the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other senior royals will be evacuated to a number of secret shelters scattered across the UK.

    Should the situation get even worse, the Queen will be evacuated to a "floating bunker": the Royal yacht Britannia, or the Central Government War Headquarters at Corsham Court, Wiltshire.

    The original plan, dubbed Operation Candid, was reportedly contrived during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when the world was on the brink of actual nuclear war, and "re-purposed" for the worst-case Brexit scenario.

    The source in the Secretariat said that the most extreme crisis scenario envisages riots breaking out in London as shops run out of food due to trade break-up.

    The plan is said to have been moved up the Secretariat's "priority list," which is normally dominated by such vital things as the availability of food, water and medicine, after the Queen weighed in on Brexit earlier in January, calling on the nation to "seek out the common ground" that binds the country together.

    "As the Queen has been dragged into some of the politics around all this, it becomes more likely that she and her family could be targeted by protesters," the source said.

    ​The plan has been ridiculed by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leading Tory Brexiteer, who called it a "wartime fantasy" invented by people who watched too many news videos of helicopters evacuating US diplomatic personnel from the roof of the embassy in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City) at the end of the Vietnam War.

    "The over-excited officials who have dreamt up this nonsense are clearly more students of fantasy than of history. The Monarch's place is always in the capital, as the late Queen Mother, wife of George VI, made very clear during the Blitz," the politician said.

    "The apparent airlift of the Queen for the London Olympics in 2012 was a very good joke — not a serious Brexit-related blueprint to rerun the American departure from Saigon," the politician argued. 

    However, the Daily Mail cites another unnamed senior Government official acknowledging the possibility that such a plan exists.

    "It is not ‘project fear'," the official said, referring to what Brexiteers see as the fear-mongering propaganda of the Remainers. "There are dozens of contingency planners whose job is to envisage every possible eventuality. They would be negligent if they didn't include the Royals in that, however far-fetched the scenario might seem."

    Neither Buckingham Palace nor Downing Street has yet commented on the report.

    Britain's scheduled exit date from the bloc is 29 March 2019, and London has yet to successfully negotiate the withdrawal deal with Brussels.


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