Plans to introduce a martial law to prevent unrest in the event of a chaotic no-deal Brexit are being looked at by the country’s top planners.
The civil service are ‘prepping’ for all possibilities including putting troops on the streets of UK cities to stop rioting over food shortages.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the move on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show.
Legislation being looked at by Brexit planners would give ministers the power to impose curfews, travel bans, confiscate property and deploy soldiers where necessary.
Asked if a martial law would be introduced, Mr Hancock said: ‘Of course the Government all of the time looks at all the options for all circumstances.’
He added that it was not ‘the focus of our attention’.
Whitehall officials are looking at how to use powers available under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 to stop civil disobedience after the UK leaves the EU.
The Act could be put in place after Britain leaves the EU, according to The Sunday Times.
A source said: ‘The over-riding them in all the no-deal planning is civil disobedience and the fear that it will lead to death in the event of food and medical shortages.’
A Downing Street spokesperson said: ‘Respecting the referendum decision means leaving the EU.
‘The PM has said that there will be disruption in the event of no deal, but as a responsible Government we are taking the appropriate steps to minimise this disruption and ensure the country is prepared.’
Labour MP and Best for Britain campaign supporter, David Lammy, said plans for a martial law showed Brexit was ‘a full-blown crisis’.
‘The Government is recklessly drawing up plans for a colossal act of self-harm,’ he told The Mirror.
‘The idea that the Government has any mandate for this catastrophic scenario is ludicrous.
‘The Leave campaign promised a stable new trading relationship with the EU after Brexit, not total isolation and soldiers in our airports.’
Earlier this week Prime Minister Theresa May shocked some MPs by claiming ‘social cohesion’ would be affected if Brexit does not go ahead, which some commentators claimed was short hand for rioting in the streets.
The government is seeking to extend MPs’ working hours in order to get Brexit legislation completed before the scheduled withdrawal date of 29 March.
Parliament’s February recess will be cancelled, and MPs will have to start earlier and finish later on sitting days.
MPs will debate and vote on May’s Brexit ‘Plan B’ withdrawal deal on Tuesday.