'It'll be anarchy': Gordon Brown discussed putting troops on the streets as banking crisis worsened, former spin doctor Damian McBride reveals


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Indy Politics

Gordon Brown considered putting troops onto the streets and enforcing a curfew as the severity of the banking crisis began to sink in, his former spin doctor has revealed.

Mr Brown's fears came in anticipation of the public becoming aware of just how serious the financial crisis was.

Damian McBride said the then prime minister was preparing for "anarchy" from across the country if banks shut their doors and stopped people from using their bank cards.

His consideration of such drastic measures arrived in the days following the collapse of Northern Rock in 2008, and the night before he announced his public bailout of the banks, fearing a "total meltdown of the financial system of the Western world".

Mr McBride added that it was "extraordinary" to see him "gripped by the danger of what he was about to do".

In an extract of his book, serialised in the Daily Mail, Mr McBride quoted Mr Brown as saying: "You don't understand...If the banks are shutting their doors, and the cashpoints aren't working, and people go to Tesco and their cards aren't being accepted, the whole thing will just explode.

"If you can't buy food or petrol or medicine for your kids, people will just start breaking the windows and helping themselves. And as soon as people see that on TV, that's the end, because everyone will think that's OK now, that's just what we all have to do.

"It'll be anarchy. That's what could happen tomorrow. I'm serious, I'm serious... We'd have to think: do we have curfews, do we put the Army on the streets, how do we get order back?"

He feared panic from other countries could spread to Britain, exacerbating public unrest further.

But McBride added that Mr Brown was "convinced that decisive action" had to be undertaken immediately and said he later thought his actions were comparable to President John F Kennedy and his advisers during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the Cold War.

The former special advisor to Mr Brown was forced to resign in 2009 after revelations of plans to create a smear campaign against Conservative ministers were leaked.