Police have issued a stark warning about the risks of leaving the EU without a deal after cabinet resignations and threats to Theresa Mays leadership left Brexit hanging in the balance.
Simon Kempton, head of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said officers would struggle to handle the fallout from a no-deal Brexit, leaving them facing a “very steep learning process”.
Among his main fears is a return to violence in Northern Ireland, where the issue of how to ensure an open border post-Brexit has been a major sticking point in the negotiations.
His other fears include food rationing to deter panic-buying and protests over the outcome of Brexit turning into disorder and violence.
UNREST FEARS: Activists and politicians have warned of consequences if Brexit isn't carried out (Pic: GETTY)
He admitted he doesnt know if police are equipped to deal with the “worst case scenario” because the government has provided “little information” about the consequences.
The spectre of a no-deal is looming into view after ministers and MPs resigned en masse, including Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and work and pensions secretary Esther McVey.
Kempton said if a no-deal comes to fruition, disorder could arise from problems relating to imports at the border.
The military may be needed to drafted in if disturbances such as riots and violent clashes with police erupt after Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.
DISMAY: Theresa May is facing threats to oust to her power over Brexit (Pic: GETTY)
ANGER: A man carrying an anti-EU pro-Brexit placard shouts in a counter protest (Pic: GETTY)
“It's a real concern that those protests might escalate into disorder”
Simon Kempton, head of the Police Federation of England and Wales
He said: "This is 2018, it's the year people dialled 999 because KFC ran out of chicken. If that can happen, imagine what will happen if we start to see food or medical supply shortages.
"We live in a liberal democracy. Protest is good, protest is part of being a democracy.
"Where that moves into disorder, though, to violence – that's the concern.
“And where people can't feed themselves, potentially, where people can't get their insulin, potentially, it's a real concern that those protests might escalate into disorder.
"That would obviously need policing and that brings dangers for the general public."</span></span>
HISTORIC: More than 17 million people voted to leave the EU in the referendum (Pic: GETTY)
In a statement, Downing Street insisted the government is preparing for a no-deal, which it said was unlikely.
A spokesperson said: "While the chances of no-deal have been reduced considerably, the government will continue to do the responsible thing and prepare for all eventualities, in case a final agreement cannot be reached.
"The UK and the EU have taken a decisive step forward, agreeing the provisional terms of the UK's smooth and orderly exit from the EU and making significant progress on the outline terms of our future relationship."</span></span>