Britain ‘could impose MARTIAL LAW to avoid chaos on the streets after no-deal Brexit’ – as MPs face having their holidays CANCELLED to prepare for UK’s departure
- Theresa May is struggling to find a way through Brexit deadlock in Parliament
- Whitehall officials ‘war-gaming’ depoying the army if the UK crashes out of EU
- MPs face having holiday cancelled and sitting hours extended to get laws passed
Whitehall officials have been ‘war-gaming’ imposing martial law to avoid chaos on the streets after a no-deal Brexit, it emerged today.
The extreme measures are being considered as part of a major response if the UK crashes out of the EU at the end of March.
Mandarins have been discussing whether to use wide-ranging powers in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 – which include curfews, travel bans and deploying the army.
Meanwhile, MPs face sitting longer and having their holidays cancelled as efforts are ramped up to get crucial legislation through Parliament in time for the schedule March 29 departure date.
Theresa May (pictured at church in Maidenhead today with husband Philip) is desperately scrambling to find a way through Parliamentary deadlock on Brexit
Labour’s Yvette Cooper (left) is heading a bid by cross-party Remainers to force her to delay the Article 50 process. Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom (right) has insisted Brexit should only be put off if there is a deal to implement
The developments come as Theresa May desperately scrambles to find a way through Parliamentary deadlock on Brexit.
The PM is trying to fend off a bid by cross-party Remainers in a key vote on Tuesday night to force her to delay the Article 50 process. The plan, pushed by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, would pave the way for law ordering a nine-month extension to be considered on February 5.
Amendments are also tabled intended to rule out a no-deal Brexit, and stage a series of ‘indicative’ votes to work out what approach would gain a majority in the Commons.
The government appears to be pinning its hope on changes tabled by senior Tories that would demand a rewriting of the controversial Irish border backstop – something she could take to Brussels as concrete evidence of the will of MPs.
But Mrs May must control rising unrest in her own ranks, after Amber Rudd hinted she could quit to support the Cooper amendment on Tuesday.
Chancellor Philip Hammond also refused to rule out resigning if the government’ stated policy becomes no deal Brexit – although he tried to play down the idea that the votes this week are ‘high noon’, saying there was still time to find a solution.
Defence minister Tobias Ellwood today openly contradicted the PM by warning it is ‘time to rule out the very possibility of no deal’.
‘It is wrong for government and business to invest any more time and money in a no-deal outcome which will make us poorer, weaker and smaller in the eyes of the world,’ he wrote in the Sunday Times.
Robert MacFarlane, the deputy director of the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, has been involved in preparations for no-deal Brexit, according to the newspaper.
Defence minister Tobias Ellwood (pictured) today openly contradicted the PM by warning it is ‘time to rule out the very possibility of no deal’
The possibility of using the Civil Contingencies Act for Operation Yellowhammer – the no-deal Brexit plan – was apparently raised for the first time last week.
‘As no-deal preparations are accelerated and training is rolled out to civil servants, questions have been raised about the legislation and how it could be used in the event of a no-deal Brexit,’ a source said.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said there was no ‘specific’ plan for martial law, but did not completely rule it out.
‘Of course Government all the time looks at all the options in all circumstances,’ he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.
‘It remains on the statute book but it isn’t the focus of our attention.’
A Downing Street spokesman 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.’
No10 is preparing moves to extend Commons sitting hours and cancel the February half-term to pass a series of laws that are needed to smooth a no-deal Brexit.