Dominic Grieve says he fears Boris Johnson will declare a state of emergency

28 September 2019, 15:55

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The former Attorney General told LBC that he fears the government might use emergency powers to give Ministers the right to impose martial law for up to 30 days.

He said he was astonished that Ministers in Boris Johnson's government had been talking about civil disorder breaking out when the UK leaves the EU.

He believes this may be a pretext to using an act that would allow the Prime Minister to declare a state of emergency.

He told LBC's Matt Frei: "The only way in which the Act, passed by Parliament and presented by Hilary Benn, could be stopped is if there was serious civil disorder.

"Because the government then has power under the Civil Contingencies act to stop it.

"It could be challenged in the courts but it is the one way it could be stopped."

He said if he were asked two weeks ago if he found that plausible "I would have said not."

Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve
Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve. Picture: PA

But Mr Grieve said he was "astonished" by the fact "government ministers have said unless we leave by October the 31st there will be riots."

Writing in the Daily Mail the former Tory MP said: "My worry is that this is part of an orchestrated script and part of a Government policy to get around the law drafted by Labour MP Hilary Benn and approved by the Commons – with my support – designed to prevent the Prime Minister taking the UK out of the EU next month without a deal.

"My suspicion is that they may be planning to use the 2004 Civil Contingencies Act to suspend that law on the grounds that otherwise there will be riots before and afterwards."

The Civil Contingencies Act gives the government the ability to suspend the rule of law for up to 30 days if a situation threatens the stability of the UK.

The Act says the country would have to be faced with “an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare” or “serious damage to the environment of the United Kingdom or of a part of the region”.

Watch the whole exchange in the video at the top of the page.