HEALTH Secretary Matt Hancock admitted yesterday morning that the Tory government is considering the imposition of martial law and curfews in the event of a no-deal Brexit on 29th March.
Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show Hancock was asked: ‘Can I ask you, is it the case the government is looking at the possibility of martial law and curfews if there is no deal?’ He replied: ‘I wouldn’t put stress on that. Of course the government all the time looks at all of the options in all circumstances.’
Marr responded: ‘So you are looking at martial law as a possibility.’
To which Hancock responded: ‘Not specifically.’ ‘Not specifically, but it’s there as a possibility,’ said Marr. ‘Well it remains on the statute book,’ said Hancock.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s amendable motion on her EU Withdrawal Agreement is to be debated and voted upon in the House of Commons tomorrow. Before interviewing Hancock yesterday, Marr interviewed Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who has put an amendment to May’s motion.
If passed, Cooper’s amendment could extend Article 50 – which triggers the UK’s withdrawal from the EU – by nine months, unless May can secure a deal by the end of February. Asked if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn supports her amendment, Cooper said: ‘Well I hope that he will support it. He obviously needs to make his decision in the normal way.
‘But what I would say to him and to the prime minister and to government ministers who I think also want to make sure that we don’t have no deal is, in the end we can’t and the prime minister can’t, keep waiting for other people to sort this out. ‘We can’t just carry on with a kind of game of chicken, we need someone to take responsibility and say that if the prime minister runs out of time she may need some more time.’
Tory House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom described Cooper’s amendment as a ‘thinly veiled attempt to stop Brexit’, saying it would be an act of ‘constitutional self-harm’ and expressing ‘grave concerns’ about it.
It will be up to House of Commons Speaker John Bercow to select which amendments to May’s plans will be put to a vote tomorrow. Another one is the amendment from Tory former minister Dominic Grieve, which is calling for a range of options to be put to MPs over six full days in parliament before the March deadline, while the Lib Dems’ amendment will be calling for a ‘People’s Vote’ – another referendum.