According to Press TV, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday that the option of using martial law to quell civil unrest that could follow a no-deal Brexit had been included in government plans to cope with the situation although he insisted that the government was not focused on the option.
“It remains on the statute book but it isn’t the focus of our attention,” said Hancock in an interview to the BBC.
The remarks come amid British Prime Minister Theresa May’s refusal to rule out a no-deal Brexit, a situation which according to businesses and politicians could have grave consequences for the UK economy.
May has been failing in her attempts to go through the parliament with a divorce deal she signed with the EU in November.
The premier said after a historic defeat in the House of Commons on January 15 that if the lawmakers in the chamber fail to endorse a revised version of her Brexit agreement in the coming weeks, she would have no option but to bring the UK out of the EU on March 29 in a disorderly manner.
May’s government announced earlier in December that it had full preparations and plans for dealing with a no-deal Brexit contingency. The government has even ordered exercises and drills in various departments in a bid to prepare for the situation.
Many have warned that a hard Brexit could lead to acute shortage of food and medicine in the UK and cause unrest. The British military has also announced that it has troops on standby to deploy on the streets if such riots happen as a result of no-deal Brexit.
Unnamed officials told The Sunday Times that the government was considering options, including martial law, curfews, and the use of the army, to deal with civil disobedience that could be caused by a disorderly exit from the EU.
“The overriding theme 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 government source told the weekly newspaper.