Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Cometh the hour, cometh the crisis manager, albeit in camouflage combat clothing. Step forward Brigadier Phil Prosser of the Army’s 101 Logistics Brigade who is to help the Prime Minister roll out the nationwide vaccine programme. It is not yet clear how much authority is being given to the team under Brig Prosser, but he can be sure about who Whitehall will blame if things go wrong.
At Thursday’s Number 10 briefing Brig Prosser said the Army had already accomplished “the equivalent of setting up a major supermarket chain in less than a month.” It has already distributed more than 1.26 million vaccines, established 769 sites, delivered 100 million items of equipment, and, promised the Brigadier, “we will increase our footprint next week by 20 per cent.”
The expertise of 101 Brigade is renowned – they came to the rescue in the 2001 foot and mouth crisis, where they supervised the nationwide disposal of millions of quarantined and infected carcasses. They also provided the backbone to the security checks at the 2012 Olympics after the G4S civilian contractors, hired by Theresa May as Home Secretary, had fallen down on the job.